Macy’s Mobile Evolution Takes Next Step

Discussion
Nov 06, 2013

At the recent Women’s Wear Daily CEO Summit, Macy’s chairman, chief executive officer and president Terry Lundgren identified mobile as one of the company’s "engines of growth" and that the company was "betting big" on the technology.

The latest bet the department store chain has made in mobile involves the launch of a new app, Macy’s Star Gifts, that enables customers to scan photos from catalogs, magazine ads and billboards to get product information, special offers and then buy the items.

"Visual recognition technology is the next evolution of our mobile strategy, leveraging Macy’s omni-channel capabilities to be everywhere our customers are in order to enhance their shopping experiences on the go," said Martine Reardon, Macy’s chief marketing officer, in a statement. "This new application of technology will assist us in delivering helpful and relevant content to mobile shoppers while at the same time providing them with the opportunity to get their holiday shopping done with ease."

The app, which will be available for free on iTunes or Google Play, will offer videos, gift ideas and gift-giving advice. Consumers who download the app will be able to point the device at products in the Macy’s Star Gifts catalog, tap the screen and get information. The app’s users will be able to scan the first page of the catalog to receive a $10 Macy’s mobile Gift Code.

Macy’s Star Gifts app adds to previous mobile initiatives including a standalone app and a mobile-optimized version of Macys.com.

Do you think the visual recognition technology in Macy’s Star Gifts app will result in a significant uptick in mobile purchases for the chain? From your vantage point, what are the most exciting mobile technology developments that will affect retailing in the near future?

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6 Comments on "Macy’s Mobile Evolution Takes Next Step"


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Max Goldberg
Guest
7 years 11 months ago

Visual recognition technology is great, but limiting it to a Macy’s catalogue seems so 2006, not 2013. In 2013, consumers should be able to use the app to take a picture of any item to see if Macy’s carries it. Amazon has been doing this with its Price Check app for years.

Retailers need to develop apps that make shopping easier and puts the needs of consumers first, not the other way around. By helping consumers find what they are looking for, saving time and offering value, retailers can use mobile technology to drive sales and profits.

Tom Redd
Guest
7 years 11 months ago

After attending last months Big Data Conference at the University of Arizona and seeing first hand how Macy’s is refining their marketing data resource (big data) they are on the right track. A major step forward for many retailers will be the full integration of mobile interaction and big data. This integration will help them to personalize the shopper experiece across all channels – especially mobile – to a new level. A level that involves looking at the shopper and the social sentiment around the item(s) the shopper desires and at the same time knowing their inventory positions.

Mobile can no longer live alone – it is time for it to go much deeper into the retail engines and Macy’s is pushing for this.

Carol Spieckerman
Guest
Carol Spieckerman
7 years 11 months ago

Mobile is critical for Macy’s in a way that it isn’t for most U.S.-based department stores. Its flagship stores are a destination for foreign tourists for whom mobile is a way of life. This is particularly true for Macy’s Herald Square flagship location as its mega-millions renovation rolls on. Ideally, Macy’s will take a page from Burberry’s Regent Street store in London and integrate the latest in digital wow and entertainment elements into the store environment. From there, Macy’s apps will make it all sing.

Macy’s impressive game of digital catch-up gets an “A” from me. A+ is possible!

Martin Mehalchin
Guest
Martin Mehalchin
7 years 11 months ago

Visual recognition technology is a big improvement over QR codes, which will hopefully die out now. It will be interesting to see how well this app actually works, it may take a couple of releases for it to deliver a smooth experience.

Visual recognition is a promising technology, but I still think the most exciting developments in the near term will be in location based services including Bluetooth beacons.

Vahe Katros
Guest
Vahe Katros
7 years 11 months ago

This article says that the app “enables customers to scan photos” etc. What does scan mean? Do they scan a QR Code or does the app photograph and match?

Visual Recognition is a nice buzzword, but I am a bit slow and don’t how it works in the case of Macy’s. Does it matter?

It’s all about the user experience – and I have near zero doubt that they did not perform usability studies. So we are about to be educated on Macy’s dime. Can you say ‘fast follower?” Sure you can.

I guess it’s pinterest meets the planogram meets the indoor beacons. So the long answer was: yes. If the shopper can find what they want, they are more luckily to buy it.

Most exciting developments in mobile will be the mobile device being an access point for information provided by the retailer and the extended network of people who have something to do with the brand.

Gordon Arnold
Guest
7 years 11 months ago

The future of personal computing is voice recognition and device interactivity. Look for the technologies of the near future to use voice recognition to query databases on a phone and a television and a tablet or laptop with full integration of info and query capabilities. This will be going on while Macy’s is betting on F/Y 2000 software technology running on smart phones and getting lots of orders. If nothing else this will be a lot of fun to observe.

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