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Macy’s Takes Minority Stake in Retail-as-a-Service Provider b8ta

On Tuesday, Macy’s Inc. announced plans to tap retail-as-a-service provider b8ta to help accelerate The Market @ Macy’s shop-in-shop concept. The retail group also said it has taken a minority stake in the business.

The Market @ Macy’s, which launched in February in 10 department store locations, is a marketplace that provides emerging brands a place to set up shop quickly and easily. The concept is part of Macy’s strategy to boost the customer experience as well as increase the amount of exclusive product shoppers can find in its doors.

Through the Built by b8ta service, brands are provided with everything they need to put down roots in a physical retail space, including staff training, fixtures, logistics, data analytics and even the space itself, which could be a standalone store or an area within a b8ta multi-brand store—or in this case, within Macy’s locations. The company purports to cut both time and costs down to a fraction of what they would be if these brands attempted to open retail doors on their own.

“With b8ta’s software platform and business model, product makers can go from solely selling online to launching their products with Macy’s in a few clicks. Our platform makes it easy for makers to deploy, manage, analyze, and scale amazing offline retail experiences,” said b8ta CEO Vibhu Norby.

The b8ta concept is similar to the service Appear Here provides for businesses looking to put down physical roots. According to CEO Ross Baily, Appear Here wants to be “the AirBnB of retail” by slashing the time it takes to secure a space from months to days. Simon Property Group has partnered with the company to create The Edit, an incubator for online retailers that need help opening their first stores.

The b8ta relationship follows Macy’s acquisition of Story, the ever-changing retail concept based in New York City. In addition to picking up the store, Macy’s also brought its founder and CEO Rachel Shechtman on board as the company’s new brand experience officer, charged with bringing excitement to the department store banner.

“Macy’s is in the experience business,” said Macy’s president Hal Lawton. “We’re always looking for new formats that allow our customers to discover and connect with our products and services in-store in a way that drives engagement with our brand.”