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Why Macy’s Locker Launch Could Energize Store Traffic and Sales

Macy's added lockers to 50 stores in an effort to streamline the BOPIS omnichannel service and provide a friction-free shopping experience.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Hoping to drum up store traffic and maximize real estate assets, Macy’s has quietly installed lockers in 50 locations around the country as part of its Buy Online, Pick-Up In Stores (BOPIS) omnichannel initiative, which dates back to 2014.

Customers can use the lockers to retrieve orders they’ve purchased online and had shipped to a participating location, which includes stores in Chicago and New Jersey. The lockers, emblazoned with “Buy Online Pickup In Store” in red and black lettering, are positioned next to Macy’s “At Your Service” customer-service stations, according to a tweet and photo by Fortune writer Phil Wahba, which can speed any assistance a BOPIS customer might need.

As part of its BOPIS strategy—which sidesteps shipping costs—Macy’s rewards customers who buy this way with a 20 percent coupon for their next in-store purchase, further encouraging trips to the store. BOPIS shoppers typically purchase additional products when visiting a store to pick up an order, providing an incremental sales lift for the retailer.

Amazon is perhaps the most high-profile retailer to use lockers to get order to customers, adding the service in 2011 in New York, London and Seattle. By the close of 2017, Amazon lockers were available in more than 2,000 locations—often convenience stores like 7-Eleven or other generally “convenient” spaces with extended hours—in upwards of 50 cities. As a company that mostly operates online, Amazon relied on lockers to give customers more options in receiving their goods, especially when security, such as the nuisance of package theft that’s so common around the holidays, is a concern.

But because it has such a vast real estate presence, Macy’s is using lockers as a way to maximize the mileage it gets out of its store investments, while offering customers greater peace of mind in knowing their orders are secure and decreasing its own operational expenses. What’s more, BOPIS clothing shoppers get the added benefit of trying on their new garments in-store and handling any exchanges or returns on the spot, instead of dealing with the usual hassle of returning an online order through the post or making a special trip to the store.

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Testing lockers is among the many ways Macy’s, which operates 666 stores, is trying to turn around its brick-and-mortar experience. The department store company is also trialing mobile checkout that lets in-store customers pay through a smartphone app and skip the traditional cash-wrap queue. Plus, a new initiative—The Market @ Macy’s—offers space to a rotating selection of new and emerging brands, in an effort to bring the element of discovery into stores.

In its Q4 2017, CEO Jeffrey Gennette said Macy’s has been working hard to create friction-free shopping experiences online and in stores, noting that “while we have a long way to go, we made nice improvements.”