Macy’s Goes Deeper Into Digital: Shoppers Can Check Out In-Store Using Their Smartphones

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

The department store chain, which has faced a series of challenges amid the growth of online shopping in recent years — and  is in the process of shuttering more than 100 doors — plans to roll out a mobile checkout option through its app, said CEO and chairman Jeff Gennette at the ShopTalk conference in Las Vegas on Sunday. The service will hit all full-line Macy’s stores by the end of 2018, allowing shoppers to scan and pay for products simply by using their smartphones.

“We think of the Macy’s app as a key we hand to our customers, a key that allows them to unlock an enhanced shopping experience — a world of possibilities,” Gennette explained in a statement. “With this powerful tool in hand, we give them the opportunity to engage with us on their terms. And we keep adding exciting new features to it based on what they tell us.”

To use the technology, customers will need to download the free Macy’s app and join its Wi-Fi network and shop the retailer’s in-store merchandise. They can then scan the barcodes of their items of choice and pay with their preregistered card to complete transactions straight from their Android and iOS devices. When finished, they can head to a dedicated counter where a store associate will remove each item’s security tag.

The company piloted the feature at its outpost in Woodbridge, N.J., and intends to test it this month at its Bloomingdale’s location in New York City’s Soho neighborhood.

Macy’s also revealed that it will be expanding its virtual reality in-store furniture design experience to an additional 60 locations from its original pilot at three stores, where customers are able to place tables, couches and other furnishings in a tablet-accessed virtual room that can be modeled in their chosen designs.

“Consumers today don’t just adopt technology, they absorb it at a tremendous pace, but they want it to be useful to their needs,” Gennette added. “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.”

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