Macy’s further embraces immersive technology as the massive department store chain expands its in-store VR program.
Clothing giant Macy’s is teaming up with Facebook and 3D streaming company Marxent to collaborate on bringing in new brands and marketing opportunities using VR. The retailer will even be providing headsets for use in stores.
“We are focused on providing customers with fresh experiences, and we are always looking for new ways to engage our customers in store, online and via our mobile app,” said Hal Lawton, president of Macy’s, according to Anne Flynn Wear of FurnitureToday.com. “Our technology enhancements are practical applications that will engage our customers while also driving sales.” Macy’s hopes that implementing immersive technologies all along their supply chain will give customers an easier shopping experience and increase revenue.
“The Market @ Macy’s” is a new area within stores. It “rotates a handful of brands in and out — to two more Macy’s locations, at Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta and Century City in Los Angeles, in November, bringing the total to 12 across the U.S.,” according to CNBC’s Lauren Thomas. “These shops are located at what Macy’s says are some of its most-trafficked stores, including Herald Square in New York.”
The company’s partnership with Facebook will add 150 clothing brands to its repertoire which advertise on the social platform. Late November, the clothing chain is scheduled to add two new pop-up shops featuring their immersive campaign.
Macy’s is using AR extensively for furniture ad campaigns as well. “With VR technology, we can offer a full range of furniture with as little as 5,000 square feet of space – down from 20,000 square feet previously,” said CEO Jeff Gennette according to Wear. “This will enable us to expand furniture sales at our smaller stores.”
Linked here is a video of Macy’s AR furniture experience, which appears to be similar to SIMS and design-based games that’ve been popular since the ’90’s.
Former Macy’s advertising strategy employee Irene Stolyarov thinks using VR for the company’s furniture department “is an awesome idea.”
She continued, “those are all big ticket items and cost lots so its important to be able to get a feel for how they look in real life. Something like VR would be great [at Macy’s] if it meant I could get a feel and not have to actually go in store.”
Stolyarov said its effectiveness will depend on how immersive the technology is:
“The fabric and that sort of stuff is really important. […]You should be able to touch it and feel like you are in the store doing the same.”
Currently the Email and Push Marketing Specialist at San Francisco-based vintage clothing platform ModCloth, Stolyarov worked for Macy’s from 2015 to 2017. She has used VR to market camping gear at ModCloth and said it was an exciting new option in clothing sales strategy. ModCloth currently doesn’t have software for VR or AR set up but is exploring options for immersive technology in the future.
Other retail companies embracing VR and AR include department stores like JC Penny and Nordstrom which are exploring immersive technologies in their physical locations. Meanwhile, Walmart is stocking 30 percent more toys and hosting toy events in an attempt to bid for children’s games and toys following the closing of Toys ‘R Us.
And some stores, including Macy’s itself, are creating “Instagram-worthy” exhibits with experiences for shoppers like ice cream and bouncy-ball rooms reminiscent of pop-singer Ariana Grande’s Spotify Sweetener experience or the Museum of Ice Cream.
The company added virtual mirrors to 50 stores in the makeup department and apps for shoppers to use AR on their phones to try on makeup at home as well.
These immersive techniques appear to be working. Coresight Research said that online retail sales for Macy’s are expected to grow nearly 16 percent over winter 2018 as compared to one year ago, Thomas wrote.
And customers who used VR whilst shopping increased their basket size by 60 percent according to Wear.
Image Credit: Digital Commerce 360 & CNBC respectively