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Macy’s is experimenting with a number of new technologies to enhance the shopping experience of its customers, especially the tech-savvy internet generation or the “millennials” that constitute a large proportion of its customer base. These initiatives primarily aim at improving efficiency of browsing for items and also the process of checking out. Since online retailing has become a big success, Macy’s is trying to combine some of the benefits of this, for the in-store shoppers through these initiatives. All these technologies are in various stages of testing, being tried in selected stores around the country, before they are rolled out to all Macy’s stores nation-wide.
Foremost among these are the touchscreen point of purchase or POP machines or kiosks in various departments, where a shopper can scan an item and look up variations, either in that shop or elsewhere. It can suggest favorites in that item category and even show online review of the item just like the online retailers. A shopper can buy it directly at the terminal or choose to get it delivered. Testing has been carried out in Cincinnati, with further testing scheduled in northern New Jersey and Atlanta.
Then there are look book terminals that are touchscreen digital catalog giving ideas to shoppers on how to pair one item with another, for example a garment with an accessory. It eliminates the need, of a mannequin and also a sales associate, by offering suggestions on how to combine various items along with relevant information. Just like the POP machines, these are also being tested in northern New Jersey and Atlanta after being tried in Cincinnati.
Next in line is Shopkick, an app that provides the shopper with information on promotions, discounts customized to the need of the shopper in the form of notifications, once the shopper is inside a store. The notifications can be made really context-sensitive based on the shopper’s location in the store. This was tested in stores, in New York and San Francisco last holiday season and will be available at all stores this fall.
Macy’s Wallet and also Bloomingdale’s Wallet digitally maintain the deals or coupons available to a customer through the loyalty program thus doing away with the need to preserve paper coupons. This facility is already available to those shoppers with online profiles maintained by Macy’s and by November, will feature in Macy’s mobile apps.
Apple Pay is the mobile payment service offered by Apple with its latest products iPhone 6 and Apple Watch. The owner of such an Apple device will have to stock their device, with virtual tokens bought from Apple. Then they can use it to make payment at a sales counter using near field communication. Since the information is encrypted, there is no fear of losing sensitive information like a credit card. Both Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have this facility available at all their stores from this fall.
This is how Apple Pay works:
The last is the Same Day Delivery service where Macy’s uses Deliv, a crowd-sourced delivery service to deliver products to customers that they have purchased. It extends on Macy’s capability, to let a shopper purchase an item on the internet and pick it up from any store convenient to them. This same day delivery service is being tried in several US cities like Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles this fall.
All the initiatives clearly indicate that Macy’s is seriously interested to uplift its “smart customer” experience, with applicable technology and will definitely go the extra mile to earn customer satisfaction and patronage as it always has. Also, that the retail giant, is tech-ready to welcome the next generation of shoppers.