Department stores can’t compete against internet shopping because they are bland and predictable. Unexpected and quirky is a better formula. The economic model for national department stores doesn’t work anymore. What’s the fun of going to stores that are just the same as all the others in the chain? Consumers can and do jump from one shopping site—including websites for department stores—to another, hitting the refresh button as they go. Doesn’t that beat the prospect of trekking to a local chain store whose floor plan you know by heart? The problem is that local versions of national chains like Sears and Macy’s can’t make changes on their own, so they can project a uniform identity in their ads. Back in 2008 Macy’s tried a tricky balancing act: Trying to find the perfect mix of national and local. As our newspaper Crain’s Chicago Business reported, Macy’s sought to balance its one-size-fits-all national TV ads with locally-tailored products and promotions. The theme, dubbed “My Macy’s,” based merchandising selections on area preferences, so coats were marketed more heavily in Minneapolis than they were in Miami. Read more at Advertising Age.