Published: Tue, March 20, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

Macy's will use VR to sell furniture in 50 stores by summer

Macy's will use VR to sell furniture in 50 stores by summer

That feature is expected to be available nationwide in all of Macy's full-line stores by the end of this year.

Macy's also is revamping its web and mobile sites, adding more pick-up and delivery options, and introducing a mobile payment option into its app - all leveraging online technologies to improve the brick-and-mortar experience. Once connected to Macy's through its app and free in-store WiFi, shoppers are able to scan the items for purchase and can pay through the app with a pre-registered credit card.

Macy's is the latest retailer to announce that it will be upgrading its innovation and experiences for customers in an increasingly digital world.

"We are excited to expand our launch of Mobile Checkout powered by the Macy's app, providing our customers with the opportunity to self serve and speed their transactions with us in-store", said Jeff Gennette, Macy's Inc., chairman and chief executive officer.

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Macy's Mobile Checkout requires customers to first download the Macy's mobile app and join its free Wi-Fi network. From there, they will walk to designated mobile checkout counters set up near store exits to have associates verify the purchase, remove security tags and bag their items. "With this powerful tool in hand, we give them the opportunity to engage with us on their terms". The expansion is scheduled to be completed by fall 2018 "and will cover a significant portion of Macy's largest furniture departments", the company said.

The furniture VR technology has been tested at Macy's flagship store in New York City and at Macy's stores in Paramus, New Jersey, and Dadeland, Florida.

According to Gennette, the virtue of virtual reality is its ability to "sell more furniture with less, or even no, square footage devoted to displaying it". The retailer has already piloted a virtual reality tool through which customers can use a tablet to add furniture to a room and move the pieces around until they get what they're looking for. The system enabled customers to feel more comfortable about furniture fit, and "significantly increased" both total transaction sizes, and sales of items that Macy's sells but didn't keep on site. Furniture shoppers can use the VR tools to deploy and design a fully-furnished room to see how it looks.

"Like a lot of brands, we've experimented with VR in a number of areas and we're excited to have found a practical application that has proven to drive sales", Gennette said.

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