Macy’s Unveils New Partnership With IBM’s Watson

Macy's store in Herald Square
Macy's flagship store in NYC's Herald Square.
Courtesy image.

IBM’s famous artificial intelligence program Watson is headed to Macy’s for a new gig.

The retailer announced Wednesday that it has teamed with IBM’s Watson and AI platform Satisfi to launch a new customer service program in 10 stores nationwide. The “Macy’s on Call” mobile first program uses Watson’s artificial intelligence to respond to consumer questions in real time from their mobile phones.

“With an eye towards innovation, we are moving fast to test and scale up pilot programs that help enhance their experience with us,” said Peter Sachse, Macy’s chief growth officer, in a release. “This program, in partnership with Satisfi and leveraging the power of IBM Watson, will help us explore new ways to engage one on one with customers in store, providing them another level of service right at their fingertips.”

Customers can use their mobile browsers to ask things like “Where are shoes?” and “Where are dresses?” and the mobile program will answer the questions specific to each Macy’s store. The program is also rolling out a Spanish language version of the program to better serve all of Macy’s shoppers. With more shoppers turning to their smartphones to assist in their purchases, whether for price comparisons or browsing styles from the store, the new program aims to tap the connected shopper and enhance their experience.

“Bringing Watson into a retail store setting presents an opportunity to engage with the consumer on a variety of levels. This particular use case takes Watson beyond helping consumers evaluate purchasing decisions, and influences another, equally important aspect of the in-store experience — ease of use in locating products, facilities and services,” said David Kenny, general manager of IBM Watson, in a statement.