Macy’s unveils new omnichannel initiatives
Cincinnati -- Macy’s Inc. is launching a large number of omnichannel strategies and technologies encompassing stores, online and mobile. In addition to supporting the new Apple Pay mobile payment system, the department store retailer’s new moves include piloting same-day delivery, testing new POS technology and customer service enhancements, and expanding its use of RFID to fashion categories.
“Our goal remains to help our customers shop whenever, wherever and however they prefer, and to use the entire inventory of the company to satisfy demand,” said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman and CEO, Macy’s. “We are a multi-faceted retailer with stores, technology, Internet capability and mobile access that come together for our customers. They are at the center of all our decisions, and our ongoing research and development will continue to help us understand how to personally engage with them.”
Same-day delivery: In a pilot, Macy's will offer same-day delivery of products purchased online to customers in eight major U.S. markets: Chicago; Houston; Los Angeles; New Jersey; San Francisco; San Jose; Seattle; and Washington, D.C. Bloomingdale's will offer same-day delivery to online customers in four major markets: Chicago; Los Angeles; San Francisco; and San Jose.
Deliveries to customers will be powered by Deliv, a crowdsourced same-day delivery provider, in collaboration with major mall owners, including General Growth Properties, Macerich, Simon and Westfield Corporation.
Macy’s and Bloomingdale's same-day delivery is built on the brand’s Buy Online Pickup in Store (BOPS) feature. Originally piloted in fall 2013, BOPS recently completed its rollout to all full-line Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s store locations nationwide.
Other new omnichannel features/technologies announced by Macy’s include:
• Expanded use of beacon technology: After a test run during last year’s holiday season at Macy’s flagships in New York and San Francisco, Macy’s will expand the use of Shopkick’s ShopBeacon technology to all 4,000 Macy’s stores nationwide. ShopBeacons, an enhanced mobile location-based technology built upon Apple’s iBeacon Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) protocol, will be placed within various departments at Macy’s locations, allowing for users of the Shopkick app to get more personalized department-level deals, discounts, recommendations and rewards.
• The installation of ShopBeacons is expected to be complete by early fall 2014, with activation beginning soon after. Once live, as shoppers enter any Macy’s nationwide, ShopBeacon will remind those Shopkick app users who have opted in to receive notifications to open their app. During the initial phase of the program, customers will receive the currently available Macy’s promotions, deals or discounts.
• Smart fitting rooms: Bloomingdale's has introduced “smart” fitting rooms in five locations: Century City, San Francisco; and Palo Alto (all in California), Short Hills, New Jersey; and Garden City, New York. These fitting rooms have wall-mounted tablets where selling associates and customers are able to scan merchandise items to view other colors and sizes available and, in many cases, see additional product information, product ratings/reviews and recommendations on complementary items to “complete the look.” Customers can also tap a button to call for assistance from a sales associate without having to leave the room. Bloomingdale’s new store in Palo Alto, California, will be the first to have the new technology in all women’s and men’s fitting rooms.
• Macy’s image search: An all-new app that allows customers to search the merchandise assortment on macys.com by taking and submitting a photograph of any outfit, accessory or merchandise item they see in daily life, Image Search is one of the new technology concepts created in Macy’s San Francisco-based Idea Lab. The visual search will take the customer to similar items on macys.com, where they can be purchased. The feature is currently available for iPhone from the Apple App Store, and the functionality will be incorporated into the primary Macy’s app.
• Mobile wallets: Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have introduced new mobile wallets that enable shoppers to easily store and access offers and coupons virtually. The wallet is designed to create a seamless, omnichannel checkout experience for customers enrolled in loyalty rewards programs whether in-store, on the go via their mobile devices or at home through desktop interaction.
• The wallets are already available to customers with profiles on macys.com and/or bloomingdales.com, where shoppers can currently access the functionality via desktop, mobile devices and in-store at point-of-sale registers nationwide. In November, the company’s mobile apps will add the wallet function.
• In-store selling technology: Macy’s is piloting a variety of selling technology innovations at select stores in Georgia and New Jersey, including a new generation of enhanced handheld point-of-sale devices and tablets designed to improve the in-store shopping experience by enabling sales associates to engage customers more effectively, offer merchandise ideas and product information, and speed transactions.
• Macy’s is testing [email protected]’s Centers in select locations as in-store destinations for online order pickup, with increased associate staffing to help customers with styling and product advice. In pilot stores, customers also can shop Macy’s omnichannel assortment via electronic kiosks and large interactive “lookbook” displays, and purchase on mobile devices if they prefer. The most successful of the new point-of-sale technology is expected to be refined and rolled out to additional stores.
• Enhanced shopping apps: Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have launched all-new mobile shopping apps for iOS and Android. Enhanced navigation allows customers to easily and quickly move between features, reach desired product with fewer clicks, check-out more quickly, as well as the enhanced ability to manage gift registries. New improvements to the shopping experience on the mobile apps will be continually added throughout the fall season and beyond.
• RFID: Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s are seeing tangible results from their adoption of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology that began rolling out in 2011. In recent omnichannel pilots in several fashion categories, Macy’s documented RFID’s ability to significantly improve sales, gross margins and markdowns by better leveraging inventory counts that are real-time and accurate. Additional rollout of RFID tagging in fashion categories is planned for 2015.
• Digital catalogs: With the launch of Macy’s fall fashion direct mail catalog, Macys.com will offer a digital edition that leverage the functionality of the tablet experience to introduce customers to an enhanced catalog featuring exclusive editorial content, fashion advice, and closer looks at the product and curated product suggestions. Customers will be able to interact with enhanced content from three of Macy’s fall fashion catalogs including the women’s ready-to-wear/accessories fashion book, the men’s fashion book and Macy’s beauty catalog.
• The virtual guides will offer consumers the interactive opportunity to learn about the season’s top trends, get 360 degree views of products, see fashion tip videos, and crea