How Macy’s Is Using VR And Facebook To Improve The Shopping Experience

How Macy’s Is Using VR And Facebook To Improve The Shopping Experience
Beauty

Macy's latest innovations infuse the omnichannel department store experience with a mix of technology and social media, driving store visits as well as reaching younger, digitally native consumers

Jackie Chiquoine
  • 27 september 2018

 American department store Macy’s is leaning on technological development to improve its omnichannel experience, in a bid to build some of the appeal of e-commerce into the store experience, as well as take on ever-growing competition from Amazon. A rollout of new tech features include VR and AR shopping experiences for beauty and furniture and a seasonal partnership with Facebook.

The Market @ Macy’s is a retail-as-a-service program of rotating assortments, offering emerging brands turn-key entry on the floor of Macy’s most trafficked locations while delivering unique offerings to customers. A new partnership with Facebook will bring around 150 e-commerce brands to the Market of nine Macy’s locations throughout the Holiday shopping season.



In Facebook, Macy’s hopes to have found the prescription to help the department store drive sales and appeal to younger, digitally native consumers. Tapping into the power of platforms like Facebook and Instagram to digitally connect consumers with emerging brands, The Market @ Macy’s concept could allow the department store to evolve more quickly by responding to trends and promoting smaller labels.

“The Facebook announcement strategically makes a lot of sense, especially if they are also putting digital-marketing muscle behind it, where [Macy’s] can drive local awareness as brands that advertise on Facebook launch a physical presence,” Melissa Gonzales, founder of The Lionesque Group, a firm of retail strategist and pop-up shop architects, told the crowd during a recent Retail Influencer Network Panel.

The Market @ Macy’s concept calls back to recent rollouts such as Bloomingdale’s Carousel, proving that department stores are recognizing that they will have to alter the traditional wholesale model in order to get in business with buzzy new, direct-to-consumer brands.

“A lot of these platforms, like the Market at Macy’s, Carousel, the Edit, B8ta, charge a flat fee and don’t take on inventory from the brand…It’s more of a shoppable showroom model with drop-ship,” Gonzales continued.

VR and AR additions to their furniture and beauty departments are designed to help customers visualize products and have all the information before making a purchase. Though the technology is cutting-edge for Macy’s, it’s worth noting that innovation in in-store AR and VR implementation in the US retail sector still lags behind that of Asian retailers like JD.com and Alibaba.

Benefits of the VR-powered furniture department are two-fold: while Macy’s claims its use so far in pilot store has resulted in a 60% increase in overall basket size, digitally experience the product also allows the department store to save floor and inventory space. With an accompanying “Visualize Your Space” AR app, Macy’s aims to build consumer education and, in turn, decrease furniture returns.

In the beauty department, a kiosk lets customers digitally try on over 250 products, making for an easier and cleaner cosmetic testing process. A Virtual Makeover feature inside the Macy’s app, currently in testing and rolling out to the general public in 2019, will allow for a similar experience anywhere, all within the user’s smartphone. Behind the scenes, digital resources for store associates—known as the “Beauty Playground”—will help to enhance the training of in-store beauty advisors.

Though it remains to be seen how the embrace of in-store technology will affect Macy’s bottom line, it’s an important development in the department store’s quest to drive footfall in the age of e-commerce.

Macy’s

 American department store Macy’s is leaning on technological development to improve its omnichannel experience, in a bid to build some of the appeal of e-commerce into the store experience, as well as take on ever-growing competition from Amazon. A rollout of new tech features include VR and AR shopping experiences for beauty and furniture and a seasonal partnership with Facebook.

The Market @ Macy’s is a retail-as-a-service program of rotating assortments, offering emerging brands turn-key entry on the floor of Macy’s most trafficked locations while delivering unique offerings to customers. A new partnership with Facebook will bring around 150 e-commerce brands to the Market of nine Macy’s locations throughout the Holiday shopping season.

+app
+apparel
+AR
+augmented reality
+beauty
+bloomingdales
+department store
+experiential
+macy’s
+merchandising & curation
+omnichannel
+retail
+Shopper education & assistance
+Shopper Marketing & Promotion
+store experience & design
+Virtual Commerce
+Virtual Reality
+VR

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