Macy’s unveils mobile payments and customer marketing plans


Macy’s Inc, owner of the Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s department store chains, has unveiled plans to implement a range of new technologies designed to provide an omnichannel shopping service to its customers. The plans include Bluetooth beacons in all stores, new mPOS terminals, support for Apple Pay and a mobile wallet app.

Apple Pay

“Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores will be among the first retailers to support the new Apple Pay mobile payment system,” the retailer says. “The convenience of mobile payment at the point of sale is becoming increasingly interesting to customers, and Apple Pay offers an opportunity to further simplify the point-of-sale process in Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores in an easy, secure and private manner. More details will be available in October, when the new service is scheduled to launch.”

Mobile wallet

A new Macy’s Wallet and a Bloomingdale’s Wallet will be integrated with the retailer’s main apps in November 2014, enabling Macy’s Star Rewards and Bloomingdale’s Loyallist program members to “easily store and access offers and coupons virtually”. The wallet “creates a seamless, omnichannel checkout experience for customers enrolled in loyalty rewards programs,” the retailer says, “whether in-store, on the go via their mobile devices or at home through desktop interaction.”

Bluetooth beacons

“In what will be the largest implementation of iBeacon technology at retail stores to date”, 4,000 Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons supplied by Shopkick will be installed in all Macy’s stores across the US “by early fall 2014, with activation beginning shortly thereafter.”

The Shopkick ShopBeacons “will be placed within various departments at Macy’s locations, allowing for users of the Shopkick app to get more personalized department-level deals, discounts, recommendations and rewards”, the retailer says. “Once live, as shoppers enter any Macy’s nationwide, ShopBeacon will remind those Shopkick app users who’ve opted in to receive notifications to open their app.”

“During the initial phase of the program, customers will receive the currently available Macy’s promotions, deals or discounts. In early spring 2015, these Macy’s offers can be even more precisely tailored by departments in the store. This enhancement in Macy’s mobile technology arsenal will allow for increased consumer engagement and promotional and marketing relevancy that will benefit customers nationwide.”

The move follows a pilot which took place during the 2013 holiday season at Macy’s flagships in New York and San Francisco.

Image search and buy

A new Macy’s Image Search app for iOS “allows customers to search the merchandise assortment on by taking and submitting a photograph of any outfit, accessory or merchandise item they see in daily life. The visual search will take the customer to similar items on, where they can be purchased.” The service is to be incorporated into the main Macy’s app in the future.

Mobile POS devices

“Select stores in Georgia and New Jersey” are piloting new handheld point-of-sale devices and tablets “designed to improve the in-store shopping experience by enabling sales associates to engage customers more effectively, offer merchandise ideas and product information, and speed transactions”.

Upgraded shopping apps

New iOS and Android apps for both Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have been introduced that include enhanced navigation. This “allows customers to easily and quickly move between features, reach desired product with fewer clicks, check-out more quickly, as well as the enhanced ability to manage gift registries.

“New improvements to the shopping experience on the mobile apps will be continually added throughout the fall season and beyond,” Macy’s says.

Smart fitting rooms

The fitting rooms in five Bloomingdale’s stores have been equipped with wall-mounted tablets “where selling associates and customers are able to scan merchandise items to view other colors and sizes available and, in many cases, see additional product information, product ratings/reviews and recommendations on complementary items to ‘complete the look’.” Customers can also tap a button to call for assistance from a sales associate without leaving the room. “This can be a call for general assistance or a specific request for another color or size in items they like,” Macy’s says.

Macy's interior

Other elements: Click and collect, kiosks and more

The new omnichannel shopping strategy also includes pilot tests of Connect@Macy’s Centers that let customers collect online orders and feature “increased associate staffing to help customers with styling advice and products that meet their needs”, electronic kiosks and interactive “lookbook” displays that let customers purchase items with their mobile device and a same day delivery service in major cities.

Digital editions of the Macy’s direct mail catalog are also to be introduced from this fall along with an online Bloomingdale’s Tabletop Builder that “allows customers to mix and match dinnerware, flatware and glassware in table settings”. Rollout of the company’s click and collect service is also now complete at all Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores, the retailer says.

“Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s remain committed to operating at the forefront of innovation, as well as fostering a locally relevant shopping experience in every store,” says chairman and CEO Terry J Lundgren. “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,” he added. “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.”

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