Macy’s reduces return rates with help of virtual reality technology
Macy’s is going all out for virtual reality with what it called the “largest VR rollout in retail history.”
The department store giant is deploying VR technology to boost customer confidence in furniture purchases and help shoppers make better buying decisions. The program also allows the retailer to offer a full range of furniture in a dramatically smaller space.
Macy’s is partnering with Marxent on the initiative, and the technology is now in place in some 70 Macy’s stores nationwide. The companies expect to add the “Macy’s VR furniture experience” to another 20 locations by January 2019.
“Through the Macy’s VR furniture experience, we are giving our customers a new way to visualize a large selection of furniture products,” said Hal Lawton, president of Macy’s. “Customers design their living space and, using a VR headset, immerse themselves in the virtual rooms they create. VR is a practical application proven to drive sales and a terrific example of combining technology and the human touch.”
Macy’s tested the technology in three pilot stores, including its Herald Square flagship in New York City. It found that VR-influenced furniture sales increased by more than 60% versus non-VR furniture sales and decreased returns to less than 2%. Customers are more accurately visualizing their spaces and adding multiple furnishings with confidence, the company said.
Using the VR technology, Macy’s customers can take a 2D floorplan and transition it to 3D in real time.
“Macy’s VR for furniture is an easy to use application and consumers have a huge selection to choose from,” said Beck Besecker, co-founder and CEO of Marxent.
Additionally, an augmented reality furniture experience, called “See Your Space IRL,” allows customers to virtually place Macy’s furniture products in their actual living spaces. “It is now available on the Macy’s mobile app for iOS on the iPhone 7 and newer, and will be available on the Macy’s app for Android in 2019.
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Goodyear revs up for new shopping concept
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company is giving customers a new way to buy and install tires — one that eliminates long wait times in service center waiting rooms.
On Monday, the company began testing Roll by Goodyear, a program that enables customers to shop for tires online or in-person at a showroom. Then they book an appointment to have their tires installed at a showroom, or wherever their car is parked. The program is being piloted across four new Roll by Goodyear showrooms in Washington, D.C.
Here’s how the service works: Guests sign into RollByGoodyear.com or visit one of the company’s new Roll showrooms. After purchasing their tires, customers have options for installation. They can drop off their keys at a showroom and shop at nearby amenities, or a valet service can pick up and drop off the vehicle from a location of their choice. Customers can also schedule an appointment to have the installation completed at their home.
Customers receive real-time email or text status updates throughout the process, creating a more personalized experience.
Goodyear conducted “significant pre-market testing” for Roll, and the results were “extremely favorable” across all demographics, particularly with millennials.
“Roll by Goodyear makes buying tires easier,” said Fred Thomas, VP and general manager of Goodyear Retail. “Guests can choose when, where and how to install their tires and they are in complete control of the process from start to finish. Goodyear is eliminating the waiting room and giving people time back in their day to do the things they really want to do.”
Roll also takes a swing at a tire installation program being offered by Amazon and Sears. Called Ship-to-Store, the service enables customers to receive full-service tire installation and balancing at Sears Auto Centers for any brand of tires purchased on Amazon. The program is available in all stores nationwide, including those located in Alaska and Hawaii.
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