Macy's Rolls Out Mobile Checkout; Adds AR, VR

Macy’s, which has promised to make this the year it recaptures sales momentum, says it is rolling out Mobile Checkout, and expects the app to be working in all stores by the end of the year. And it intends to include an augmented-reality feature to help people decide how furniture will look in their homes by next month, while a virtual-reality furniture experience pilot is slated for 60 of its stores.

The app, unveiled by Jeff Gennette, Macy’s chairman and chief executive officer at the annual Shoptalk Conference, is a way of “providing our customers with the opportunity to self-serve and speed their transactions with us in-store. 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 … with this powerful tool in hand, we give them the opportunity to engage with us on their terms.”



The app, which it tested at the Macy’s Woodbridge, N.J., store, is free, and after downloading it, consumers have to join the store’s free Wi-Fi network. They can then scan items, and the app makes it easy to apply offers and rewards. They can pay with a pre-registered credit card. At Mobile Checkout counters, Macy’s staff then verify purchases, remove any security tags and bag or wrap items. 

Macy’s Bloomingdale’s division will start test the app next month.

Cincinnati-based Macy’s say the app will also include an augmented-reality function for furniture shopping. The VR pilot, which encompasses many of Macy’s largest furniture departments, started at Macy’s flagship store in New York City, and in Paramus, N.J., and Dadeland, Fla. With the 3D furniture experience, Gennette says, “we’re excited to have found a practical application that has proven to drive sales.” Using VR headsets, shoppers can walk around their furniture configurations, getting a more true-to-life experience.

Macy’s announcements come after a long string of struggles, including extensive efforts to use omnichannel strategies to keep up with competitors, including the luxury retailers, the value stores and the Internet, all nipping into its market share.

In its most recent quarterly earnings, released last month, Macy’s reported an increase in comparable-store sales, powered by improvements in its brick-and-mortar stores, and told investors it was determined to return to comparable-store sales gain for the full year ahead.

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