The Usability Blog
A Practical Guide to User Experience Insights

Once Great Retailers, Now CX Failures

The Key to success moving forward: Improved Customer Experience

Understanding where your customer experience fails, fixing the failures, and then becoming a best-of-breed digital platform going forward should be the solution.

If you have read the news lately then you know that Sears and Macy’s are at pivotal points in their histories – possibly even past them. Sears announced that they will be closing 150 Sears and Kmart locations around the country, while also shedding itself of the weight of the Craftsman tool brand to “cobble together enough liquidity to navigate ’17“.

Macy’s on the other hand, announced that it will shutter 68 locations (part of the 100 announced in 2016), laying off 3,900 employees. The main cause of this is dismal profits, changing spending habits, and in our opinion poor CX.

“These actions bolster the company’s strategy to further invest in omnichannel capabilities, improve customer experience and create shareholder value.” “Our omnichannel strategies continue to evolve based on the changes in our customers’ shopping behaviors, including a focus on buy online, pickup in store and mobile-enabled shopping,” said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman and chief executive officer of Macy’s, Inc. These are all very important things to consider in 2017.

So what does all of this mean? What seems most likely is that Sears wanted to move past retail. Through the introduction and forced usage of complicated rewards systems, Sears got in the way of customers in a very negative way. By some accounts, a customer would be asked no less than 5 times to enter an email for this program. All the while, prices, rewards, and products rarely lined up with what the customer expected once they hit the checkout counter. This caused massive blockages in the customer experience. Where once they could scan 18 items per minute, the new program and requirements forced that to five items per minute causing customers to simply abandon their cart. Cart abandonment is something that rarely happens in brick and mortar stores.

Peter Gold, the chief digital marketing officer at Shop.com explained it this way, “A lot of it has to do with the kind of adjustment that traditional brick and mortar retailers need to go through because some of them like Macy’s have not done a good job of staying ahead in the e-commerce and digital marketing games.”

The learning from this is to put the customer experience first in your organization’s business objectives. Learn where your customers are, whether on their couch, on their work computer at lunch, or anywhere and aim to deliver the customer experience that they would most like to use.

Ben Bishop, Marketing Manager, Usability Sciences


Sign up to become a Paid Test Participant.

Sign UP Now


“From beginning to end, everyone I interacted with from Usability Sciences was professional and thorough. I was impressed with the testing technology, the methodology and especially the team that led the project. This is one of the most impactful pieces of research I have ever delivered to my team. Thank you!”

Kevin King
Senior Director of Digital Media, A&E Television Networks

“USC managed tight timelines and a client team that was tough to wrangle, But more importantly, the quality of the work was exemplary. It's work I would hold up as "the way we should do things" and share as a case study across the organization.”

Group Product Director
Digital Marketing, Pharmaceutical Company