Macy’ Demonstrate Ways to #Fail with Your Country Selector

Although I love Macy’s, I shop there and I enjoy watching their parade; a friend recently tipped me off on Macy’s new global strategy for International SEO and I almost fell off my chair.

It was one of those car wreck moments, where you know you don’t have the time or patience but something intrigues you to look. You slow down, you stare and you wonder, “How on Earth did that car flip over upside down and land between the walls of two homes?” How can the company behind such a well known brand, make such critical mistakes with a global launch? I’m not trying to do a “double rainbow” drama but this one takes the cake and it was worth writing about because there is surely something to learn in what not to do when implementing a global strategy.

#Fail1 : Country Selector

Your Country selector is the tool you use to guide visitors who come to your “.com” domain. It can be an image that you click on which takes you to a page where you can choose your country on a map or a list of links or both a map and list of links (e.g. It can be a selector immediately at arrival (e.g. It can even be both, where you choose your country and your language from the home page (e.g. ). Each type of selector has benefits and obstacles to it.

Macy’s #Fail1, from a usability standpoint, was putting their country selector on the bottom left corner right above #Fail4’s link for “visually impaired customers”

Macy's homepage

Although, its understandable for visually impaired customers to not even notice the link, it’s not quite understandable for someone who comes the site from a different country trying to enjoy the localized version of Macy’s. I would only hope they are not also visually impaired.

#Fail2 : Choosing your Country

When I was living in Europe in the 90s, I remember sitting in a Greek Café in my Uncle’s town outside of Athens and the two Americans came in bareback, yet their chests were painted with the American flag. Both of them thundered through the door and announced to everyone, “Yah!!! We’re American!!! Whooo Hooo!!!” high-fiving themselves and, within one minute, one guy shouts at the barista that he’d, “take two cups of coffee and one of those donut thingy’s”, all in English. You can tell everyone including the barista was a bit annoyed, especially since her English was quite poor and she didn’t really understand what they wanted. When she tried to interpret, the American dude yelled at her and said, “We didn’t come all the way over here so you could speak Greek to me.”

Macy’s #Fail2 comes not from the ability to choose a country, but more from its complete lack of translated content.

Macy's homepage

Choosing a “shipping destination” and then a “currency “ is fine but, if, when I ‘save and continue’, I’m not offered up translated content but, instead, I am redirected to a “foreign persons” version of the website, which is in English, I could become pretty insulted. What’s worse is that I am cookied and can’t get back!

If you are going to target another audience, try your best to get your site translated. If you are a known brand, it’s almost expected. If this is supposed to be some shipping tool, don’t portray it on your site as a country selection tool.

#Fail3 : Choosing your currency

We all know that currencies fluctuate and a site dealing with a shopping cart in different currencies typically adjust for those fluctuations. Macy’s tool does work fine in terms of choosing your currency with a simple drop down selector.

Macy's homepage

However, #Fail3 comes from why do you need to do this now? I chose my shipping destination as Taiwan and my currency as the Hungarian Forint, the site worked fine showing me prices in Forints even though it was irrelevant. I even clicked on the flag to change my currency again and instead of bringing me back to what I previously saved, it defaults to Mexico and the Mexican Peso.

I’m not here to QA their website by any means, however I do want to point out why it is even here? Shouldn’t there be just a “change my currency” version as the general selector? Shipping destination should just be a choice when checking out of your shopping cart, correct? Also where are the other means of payment?

In Germany, they may not use the credit cards listed, and in China, they may only know how to pay using their phone. As in #Fail2, its almost insulting when you target local audiences wrong. You should know what they like to pay with and make it as easy and as trustworthy as possible to accommodate.

#Fail 4 (Bonus): Visually Impaired

I am sure Macy’s intentions were good when they put this here. However, a Visually Impaired link in small print at the bottom of your site, really?

Macy's homepage

When Macy’s created this country selector, I think they just intended on having a shipping indicator tool on the site. It would probably make more sense to get rid of it and include the feature at checkout while allowing the ability to change currency anytime while shopping.

Appearing to be a multinational and global retail destination with a country selector, is the big #Fail for Macy’s, yet an easy fix. At least they did one thing, well, sort of right – they translated their question and answer help section into Spanish (never mind that they ask in English “Did you find this answer helpful? “ at the end of each answer).

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