Macy's plans to turn hundreds of its own employees into fashion influencers for its brand.
The program, called the Macy's Style Crew, started as a small group of Macy's staff. Now the company is asking for applications from current employees in its corporate offices and stores who want to be fashion influencers on social media this spring, Macy's senior vice president of fashion, Cassandra Jones, told BuzzFeed News.
"When you're looking at a fashion blogger — who I love — they're very limited in niche," Jones told BuzzFeed News. "What's cool about opening it up is we have people all over the country that have incredible style or unique style ... that can make them unique influencers in their community."
Macy's will offer "tiers and rewards" to influencers in the program as credit for online sales. But the payment tiers have not been confirmed, said Jones.
The company is prepared to roll out anywhere between a "few hundred to a couple thousand" influencers, she said. While Macy's is currently only taking internal applications for influencer positions, it plans to open the program to people outside of the company once it has finalized the program.
"It's game-changing as it moves along," said Jones.
Before it started looking for influencers in its own ranks, Macy's worked with social media influencers for years. In 2015, the company partnered with YouTube style vloggers Claire Marshall, Jenn Im, Shameless Maya, P’Trique, and Amy Pham, plus Maker Studios, over an eight-week “The Next Style Star” contest. The series pitted 16 designers against one another for a chance to win $10,000 and have their work displayed in Macy’s flagship New York store. In 2016, Macy's launched a social media campaign with the hashtag #SettingTheBar, which was aimed at highlighting millennials who create their own styles using the company's private label, Bar III.
And just last week, Macy's partnered with Wendy Nguyen of Wendy’s Lookbook and other influencers to promote its #FindRemarkable campaign. The influencers chatted about fashion tips and the company's clothing in an Instagram Live video.
Jones said the program is aimed at leveraging the company's current trove of fashion-savvy employees. But the move may also cut the cost of acquiring and paying social media influencers outside of the company. A report in Digiday in June estimated that Instagram influencers can be paid $1,000 per 100,000 followers for a promotional campaign.
The program also comes as Macy's plans to close 34 more stores this year as pressure from online retailers like Amazon compel it to downsize its brick-and-mortar presence. It has closed 124 stores since 2015.