Macy's unveils omnichannel initiatives and new technology

Macy's (NYSE:M) is heading into the holiday season with new omnichannel initiatives, including several mobile components and and new technology initiatives.

Macy's and Bloomingdales will be among the first retailers to accept Apple Pay mobile payments, with plans to launch the service in October. In addition, Macy's and Bloomingdales have introduced their own mobile wallets, which help manage loyalty rewards and include special access to offers and coupons.

The department stores have also launched new mobile shopping apps for iOS and Android, complete with enhanced navigation, streamlined checkout services and improvements to gift registry management for shoppers.

The new Macy's Image Search lets shoppers snap photos of merchandise, including outfits, and then search the store's inventory for similar items. The feature is currently only available for the iPhone and is limited to Macy's products. Image Search comes from Macy's San Francisco-based idea lab.

Mobile initiatives go beyond apps and interactive features. Roughly 4,000 iBeacons will transmit personalized deals, discounts, recommendations and rewards to shoppers via Bluetooth low energy (BLE) within all Macy's locations nationwide.

The effort is an extension of an earlier test with shopkick and will be further expanded in spring of 2015.

Macy's is also testing new technology at select stores in Georgia and New Jersey, including enhanced handheld POS devices and tablets to give associates the easier control of processing transactions and suggesting merchandise. In pilot stores, shoppers can also shop Macy's omnichannel assortment via electronic kiosks and large interactive "lookbook" displays, then buy on mobile devices.

The elements of these tests determined to be most successful will be rolled out to additional stores, according to the company.

Mobile technology is also making an appearance in fitting rooms in five Bloomingdales stores—Century City, San Francisco and Palo Alto, California; Short Hills, New Jersey; and Garden City, New York—where wall-mounted tablets let associations and shoppers scan merchandise to view other sizes and colors, ratings and reviews, and additional information.

"We will continue to test, to learn, and to proceed aggressively with new ideas that excite our customers and that make shopping more convenient and fun. 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 Lundgren, Macy's chairman and CEO. "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."

This is no piecemeal effort or cobbled together multichannel strategy. Macy's and Bloomingdales now have some of the strongest mobile, online and in-store programs in retail.

*A version of this story originally appeared in FierceRetailIT's sister publication, FierceMobileRetail.

For more:
-See this Macy's press release

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