Macy's testing self-service

Sept. 13, 2011

Macy's and Bloomingdale's are testing technology-related innovations, including kiosks and digital signage, throughout stores and online sites to drive sales growth.

"We are committed to leading in the adoption of technology that resonates with our customers, recognizing that not every idea will prove to be successful in the long-term," Terry J. Lundgren, Macy's Inc. chairman, president and chief executive officer said in a press release. "In particular, we are using technology in our stores to mirror the online shopping experience, and adding functionality and content online to provide customers with additional assistance in product selection."

Retail solutions include:

Beauty Spot. The touchscreen cosmetics concept allows customers to search and select products from various product categories across multiple brands via custom-designed kiosks on the selling floor. Customers interested in lipstick or foundation, for example, can explore a wide range of alternatives, supported by detailed product information, new ideas and testers. A Beauty Spot concierge associate will be available to assist customers and process credit card transactions using a hand-held mobile device.

Powered by the second-generation Intel Core processors, the kiosks will go in four Macy's stores in New Jersey, Texas and Virginia. Six Macy's stores in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Texas will test Beauty Spot without touch screens. Intel and Macy's collaborated to create an innovative solution using the latest technology, including spot touch screen technology enabled by Intel. The application was developed by Possible Worldwide in partnership with Macy's.

Computer tablets and hand-held devices. This fall, about 350 stores will use tablets to help customers research and select skin care products at Macy's and Bloomingdale's Clinique counters. In shoes, Bloomingdale's will use tablets and hand-held devices in five stores to help customers view and shop from the largest possible variety of styles and colors, including products at other Bloomingdale's stores. In fine jewelry, 25 Macy's stores are beginning to use tablets to demonstrate product features and offer coordinating jewelry pieces that may not be available in that particular location.

By the end of October, all Macy's and Bloomingdale's furniture/mattress delivery associates will be equipped with computer tablets to plan daily routes, find locations via GPS, record delivery verification signatures, and access product and sales transaction information on-site to answer customer questions.

Denim fit finder. Powered by True Fit fit personalization software, the function allows online shoppers to select the perfect pair of jeans among all denim brands offered by using an easy-to-use three-step process based on a customer's unique body and style preferences. Recommended styles can be saved on the customer's personal profile page for future reference.

Verifone customer response units. Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores have begun to replace signature pads at all 50,000 point-of-sale terminals with new customer response units allowing the company to test emerging transaction-processing technologies. Among them is Google Wallet, a smartphone application currently being tested in 219 Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores in five markets (Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.) that allows customers to "tap, pay and save" when they use their phones as their wallets. Currently, Google Wallet is available on a limited basis to users of Android Nexus S 4G smartphones on the Sprint Network who are holders of certain Citi MasterCards.

Digital receipts. The company will experiment with digital receipts in 50 selected stores across the country. When making a purchase, customers can choose to have a copy of their receipt emailed to them. In spring 2012, Macy's customers will also have the option to select digital receipts only, thus eliminating the unnecessary use of paper receipts.

Read more about the customer experience.

Topics: Customer Experience , Custom Kiosks , Retail

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