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Macy's adopts new technology in stores and online

September 13, 2011 | 12:44 pm

Macys

Macy's Inc. is launching a series of new tech-driven initiatives in its stores, including free Wi-Fi, digital receipts and cosmetics kiosks. It will also begin using computer tablets for product demonstrations and furniture deliveries.

Terry J. Lundgren, chief executive and chairman of Macy's, said the company's goal was to "build deeper relationships with customers and to ensure Macy's and Bloomingdale's are accessible no matter how or when" they choose to shop.

"It is important that we develop and test new ideas so we can learn and continue to improve," Lundgren said. "We are committed to leading in the adoption of technology that resonates with our customers, recognizing that not every idea will prove to be successful in the long term."

Among the new offerings:

-- Beginning in late October, Macy's will experiment with digital receipts in 50 stores around the country. When making a purchase, customers can choose to have a copy of their receipt emailed to them. Next spring, Macy's customers will also have the option to select digital receipts only.

-- Macy's and Bloomingdale's have begun installing free Wi-Fi service in stores nationwide; by the end of October, access will be activated in about 230 Macy's and nine Bloomingdale's locations.

-- Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores will test computer tablets and hand-held devices in several departments. This fall, about 350 stores will be using tablets to help customers select skincare products at Clinique counters. In shoes, Bloomingdale's will be using tablets and hand-held devices in five stores. In fine jewelry, 25 Macy's stores are beginning to use tablets to demonstrate product features and offer matching jewelry pieces.

-- At the end of October, all Macy's and Bloomingdale's furniture and mattress delivery associates will be equipped with computer tablets to plan daily routes, find locations via GPS, record delivery verification signatures and access sales transaction information on-site to answer customer questions. The company said the technology would improve customer service by more accurately predicting arrival times.

-- The brands have also added live chats to their online shopping sites, allowing customer service representatives to provide real-time assistance to customers.

-- By early next month, Macy's will begin testing Beauty Spot, a custom-designed cosmetics kiosk that will be installed in a handful of stores. Customers interested in lipstick or foundation, for example, can use the kiosks to look at product details, and a dedicated associate will be available to process credit-card transactions using a hand-held mobile device.

-- Macys.com has launched a new denim fit finder for women powered by fit personalization software. The function allows online shoppers to select a pair of jeans among all of the denim brands offered by Macys.com using a three-step process based on a customer's body type and style preferences.

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-- Andrea Chang

Photo: A Macy's store in Chicago. Credit: Bloomberg

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