Macy’s launches tech pilots at namesake and Bloomingdale’s stores

Cincinnati -- Macy’s said Tuesday it is piloting or launching a series of tech innovations designed to engage customers and drive sales.

Among the announced programs are free WiFi service in Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores to enable customer use of smartphone apps and in-store tablet shopping. The service, accessible by the end of October, will be activated in 230 Macy’s and nine Bloomingdale’s stores, as well as in the junior’s and young men’s departments of another 79 Macy’s stores.

Live chat is being added to Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s web sites to allow service representatives to interact with customers in real time. And computer tablets and hand-held devices will be rolled out in-store, allowing customer service personnel to research products, conduct demos, and check inventory.

The retailer also announced that it will begin testing a new cosmetics concept, Beauty Spot, that allows customers to search and select products from a custom-designed kiosk on the selling floor. A dedicated concierge will process credit card transactions using a hand-held mobile device. Four stores are slated for the test, located in New Jersey, Texas and Virginia.

And in other technology-related news, has launched a new denim fit finder for women, and Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores have begun to replace signature pads at all 50,000 POS terminals with new customer response units developed by Verifone. The rollout will be completed by fall 2012.

“As we build our culture of growth at Macy’s, it is important that we develop and test new ideas so we can learn and continue to improve,” said Terry J. Lundgren, Macy’s chairman, president and CEO. “In particular, we are using technology in our stores to mirror the online shopping experience, and adding functionality and content online to provide customers with additional assistance in product selection.”

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