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Macy’s Taps Google Cloud for New DC Serving Backstage Stores

Macy’s joins a growing list of retailers siding with Google’s cloud services over Amazon’s money-printing cloud business.

On Wednesday Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian penned a blog post lauding the successful integration of the tech giant’s services into Macy’s new Ohio-based distribution center, which celebrated its official grand opening on Aug. 15, and will serve the retailer’s growing roster of Macy’s Backstage discount stores.

The 675,000-square-foot distribution center located in Columbus, Ohio, leverages a new Macy’s warehouse management system based on Google Cloud’s analytics and data management solutions. The facility will support more than 200 Macy’s Backstage stores and at full capacity is expected to employ around 400 workers, a number that could double during holidays and other peak seasons.

The marriage seems to make sense for both Google and Macy’s, either of which could benefit from mitigating Amazon’s dominance in the category. As retailers like Macy’s labor under constant threat of being swallowed up by Amazon’s growing market share, Google has also been working to compete with its powerful cloud operation, Amazon Web Services.

“As retailers strive to meet the growing expectations of shoppers, they are turning to Google Cloud to transform their businesses and tackle opportunities in an increasingly challenging industry,” Kurian explained. “From optimizing inventory management, to increasing collaboration between employees across locations and roles, to helping build omnichannel experiences for their customers, we are working together with retailers to help make the shopping experience as seamless and personalized as possible.”

In order to optimize a facility of that size and scope, Google Cloud services and Macy’s own distribution systems will ensure that the merchandise that flows through it is “efficiently received, sorted, ticketed, picked, packed and shipped”—with the ability to scale effectively during peak seasons.

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“Powered by software developed at Macy’s technology, this new distribution center is a fantastic first step in our cloud journey,” Macy’s chief technology officer, Naveen Krishna, added in the post. “Working with Google Cloud allows us to be more nimble, efficient and flexible in how we utilize our warehouses.”

Kurian also elaborated on the partnership, noting that Macy’s investment in Google Cloud technology was a part of the retailer’s plan to weave omnichannel technology throughout its business, including through its logistics and fulfillment operations.

As part of that roadmap, Macy’s plans to roll out similar systems to additional distribution centers in its network, including Macy’s full-line stores, Bloomingdales and its direct-to-consumer channels.

For Google, this arrangement with Macy’s is another step toward eating away at Amazon’s cloud dominance and influence throughout retail. In another move with similar aims, Google recently took its own shopping page live, complete with purchasing suggestions based on user search activity.