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Helpful (2)

Sales Assoc. in 3 Different Dept.'s

  • Work/Life Balance
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
  • Comp & Benefits
  • Senior Management
Former Employee - Sales Associate in Annapolis, MD
Former Employee - Sales Associate in Annapolis, MD

I worked at Macy's full-time (More than a year)

Recommends
Neutral Outlook
No opinion of CEO
Recommends
Neutral Outlook
No opinion of CEO

Pros

I worked in men's dress furnishings for 3 months (dress shirts, ties, accessories), fine jewelry/fine watches for 8 months, and men's shoes & luggage for 1 month. The best experience of the three was men's shoes.

Why it was the best: Men's shoes & luggage is tucked in the corner in the men's section (at least it was in my local Macy's), so it is out of the way of most managers, meaning you can get on with your work largely unmolested. It also had the best pay structure. It is way easier to sell shoes than to sell fine jewelry, and men's shoes enjoyed a 2% commission on sales and I believe luggage items earned you a 3% commission. This is all in addition to the starting $9.25 hourly rate. I was busy for a much larger share of the time and made a billion trips back and forth to the stock room to get different sizes, which was nice because it provided exercise, but also all that hustling means sales. Also, it's harder for people from other nearby zones to steal sales from you because they do not know how the stockroom is organized and can't easily go back and get customers different sizes of shoes. Another pro is that most of your customers are men and men are pretty decisive in buying shoes. It's sort of a bummer to sell men's shoes to women because they get the size wrong a lot, or just pick out something their man doesn't like, and you will end up with a return, which detracts from your sales goal and commission. One big pro is that the sales goals in men's shoes/luggage are easy to meet (harder if you are a luggage-only associate though).

Pros of fine jewelry/fine watches: The pros here are fewer. The pay is $9.25 starting and a 1% commission on sales. Jewelry cleaner and the Macy's Extended Service Plan, or ESP, earn a 10% commission and usually run anywhere from $29 - $69 in value, so that is $3 - $7 in your pocket just off that one sale. FJ/fine watches is in the middle of the store so you have decent opportunities to call in shoplifting that you see and earn Macy's Money. You work closely with Loss Prevention and can learn some of the latest happenings that way. Be aware that you have to pass a strict-ish background check in order to work in FJ/fine watches.

Pros of men's dress furnishings: Even fewer here. You catch a lot of drifting customers from other departments who need to be rung up somewhere. If it is busy you can ring the sale, which will usually help your sales goal a lot because it will be something like a suit, men's shoes, luggage, or young men's clothing. However, if you do this when it is slow, the other departments will hate you for stealing their sale. During the Christmas season it is so busy that no one really cares who gets what sale because it is so busy and everyone is up to their neck in customers.

Cons

Cons of men's shoes: A lot of the time we did not have enough coverage to help all the customers, so some customers waited a really long time to be helped. Also you were by yourself on most weekday & Sunday evenings which means you had to close by yourself. Sometimes that is nice but sometimes you have a lot to do and you get out late.

Cons of fine jewelry: Lots of cons here but the two biggest ones are very high sales goals and constant pressure from store management--not just from your own manager but the store manager as well, which is worse. It's worse because your manager in FJ will help you improve and get better at your job (usually) but the store manager just demands results from everyone and in turn makes your manager ride you harder. The store manager is especially hard on FJ because FJ, Cosmetics, and Women's Shoes are the highest-selling departments, I think in that order. The sales goals I found to be very high and consistently difficult to meet. As a young male working in fine jewelry, I felt as though I was not as convincing in selling jewelry as were the middle-aged women that comprised most of the department, most of whom had jewelry collections of their own. I felt more convincing selling fine watches, but the inventory was smaller and while the $150 - $250 ones were pretty easy sales, the high end ones were very difficult to sell and not many people were seriously interested. Plus, most of them did not benefit from Macy's credit card front-end discounts, and were coupon-ineligible, because of their brands' agreements with Macy's (Gucci, Movado, etc.) which meant the price was higher. There was a big emphasis on "pre-sales", which is where you give the customer the sale price for an upcoming sale (and most sales are on weekends and especially on holidays) but they cannot take the piece home with them until the sale begins, at which point they have to come pick it up. The logic behind this is that when they come in to pick up their purchase, they will look around and buy additional items. Pre-sales were difficult however because they could be complicated to explain and some customers would just give you a confused stare... A lot of times they will not go for it and say they will come back when the sale starts and buy then, but they of course don't come back, or they do and someone else sells to them. Pre-sales are a big deal if the jewelry department is not in an actual sale.

Another problem I encountered was that the FJ/FW associates were consistently called upon to fit/size watch bands for customers who just bought them. If you are doing this for a customer you just sold a watch to, it is expected, but the training on watch sizing was extremely inconsistent, so only a few people knew how to do it and they therefore ended up sizing watches for everyone else while those other associates got to get back out on the floor and get more sales. I sized a billion watches for fashion watches as well (cheaper but somewhat nice watches, Diesel, Armani Exchange, Lacoste, etc.) which is an entirely different department. Some of those watches have ceramic bands and must be sized carefully and take a looong time, which is more sales you miss.

Cons of men's dress furnishings: Obviously the first is that the pay is lower here. The sales goals can be a little difficult to meet, even with the occasional sale you score from a wandering customer who needs to be rung up, as discussed in the Pro's section. During down times your manager will make you go through all the glass dress shirt cubes and arrange them all by order of shirt size, which totally sucks the life out of you. Worse yet, they will make you size bins/boxes of clearance dress shirts, which are always a mess and will become a mess as soon as you turn around again.

Advice to Management

Make sure everyone in Fine Jewelry/Fine Watches, as well as Fashion Watches, knows how to size watches so that it is not always the same people doing it! A lot of times the ones doing it are your most experienced employees, who could be out there getting sales more easily than the newbies who do not know how to size watches!

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  1. Helpful (1)

    Within Retail, as good of a Planning job as is out there

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Merchandise Planner in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Merchandise Planner in New York, NY

    I worked at Macy's full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great people, lots of responsibility, high on analytics and data, lots of potential to make impact and grow, adapting quickly with lots of change coming with challenges

    Cons

    Plenty of bureaucracy and wasted time with useless systems and initiatives, career growth bottleneck at the Planner/Buyer level


  2. High energy, challenging environment with lots of great business puzzles to solve.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - IT Manager in Johns Creek, GA
    Current Employee - IT Manager in Johns Creek, GA

    I have been working at Macy's full-time (More than 10 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Macy's organization consists of many energetic, passionate people. There are excellent inclusion & participation programs for numerous topics. One is rarely bored working at Macy's.

    Cons

    Ranking system is based on a bell curve system. This can prove challenging in an organization that hires top quality experienced talent. Politics & process are sometimes allowed to get in the way of the right thing being done.

    Advice to Management

    Make it a point to engage with employees. Don't stay secluded in an office managing via email. Sr. Management should be an engaged part of the Macy's team, not an iconic celebrity figure rarely seen outside their office.


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