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Macy’s Bulks Up Its Omnichannel Strategy

When it’s deliver-or-die, supply chains become the lifeblood of a company. To that end, the fashion industry has embraced technology to navigate today’s hyper-complicated supply chain, with myriad solutions shaping the first, middle and last mile. Call it Sourcing 2.0.

Taking cues from the likes of Net-a-Porter, Apple and Target, Macy’s Inc. on Monday announced the latest advancements to its omnichannel strategy and technology as it aims to appeal to a new breed of tech-savvy customers.

The expansive roster of initiatives touches on a number of emerging selling technologies. Among them is Macy’s and Bloomingdales’ early adoption of Apple Pay, which will be available this fall on new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices, and the Apple Watch. The company will launch the mobile, contact-less payment technology designed to eliminate the need for physical debit and credit cards, in its stores in October to further simplify the point-of-sale process.

Building upon its “Buy Online Pickup in Store (BOPS)” program, which is now available at all full-line Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s locations nationwide, the retail will roll out same-day delivery of products purchased online at macys.com and Bloomingdales.com, and on both brands’ mobile-enabled websites. Macy’s will test the service in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New Jersey, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Bloomingdale’s will cover turf in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose. Deliv, a crowd-sourced same day delivery provider, will work with major mall owners, including General Growth Properties, Macerich, Simon and Westfield, to orchestrate the deliveries to consumers.

In stores, Macy’s is piloting a variety of selling technology innovations. Handheld point-of-sale devices and tablets designed to improve in-store shopping experiences by enabling sales associates to assist customers more effectively, offer merchandise ideas, product information and speed transactions are being tested in Macy’s New Jersey and Georgia locations. The retailer is also testing Connect@Macy’s Centers in select stores as a destination for online order pick up with increased sales support to help shoppers with styling tips and product suggestions. In pilot stores, customers can also shop Macy’s omnichannel assortment via interactive kiosks and “lookbook” displays, or purchase on mobile devices if they prefer. The launch of Macy’s Digital Edition, an enhanced catalog with editorial content, fashion advice and curated product suggestions, offers shoppers a new way to look at Macy’s merchandise on their tablet, desktop and mobile.

Newly launched mobile shopping apps for iOS and Android are poised to move customers easily and quickly between features, find products with fewer clicks and speed up the check-out process. The new apps are also equipped to manage gift registries. Additionally, the company has begun to deploy Macy’s Image Search, a new app that allows users to search macys.com by taking and submitting a photograph of any outfit, accessory or merchandise they see in their daily life.

Both Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s will add its mobile wallet technology to the company’s mobile apps to round out the omnichannel experience. Mobile wallets—available for customers enrolled in loyalty programs—are designed to eliminate physical versions of special discount offers and other shopping incentives by storing them virtually. Likewise, after a successful test run during the holiday season at Macy’s flagships in New York and San Francisco, Macy’s will expand the use of Shopkick’s shopBeacon technology, which sends users personalized department-level deals, discounts, recommendations and rewards, to their mobile device.

Terry J. Lundgren, Macy’s, Inc. chairman and chief executive officer, said Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s 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.” 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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