Macy’s sees benefits from VR and AR for furniture and beauty product sales

[Digital Commerce 360 reports on how the Macy’s department store chain is using presence-evoking technologies to enhance customer experience, increase sales, reduce returns, and save space while increasing its offerings. For more information, see a press release via Business Wire, a CNBC interview with the CEO of Marxent Labs, an earlier story and video from Marxent, Marxent’s Products page, and a report in PYMNTS on both Macy’s and Walmart’s recent adoption of VR and AR. –Matthew]

Virtual reality increases furniture AOV by 60% at Macy’s

On the heels of a virtual reality furniture pilot, Macy’s adds augmented reality for furniture in its iOS app.

April Berthene
September 19, 2018

Macy’s Inc.’s in-store virtual reality pilot is increasing basket size and decreasing returns, the retail chain announced this week, along with other technology-focused news.

By early November, Macy’s will have in-store virtual reality spaces at 69 U.S. stores. In pilot stores, shoppers who used the virtual reality headsets to view Macy’s furniture had more than a 60% greater average order value than non-virtual reality furniture shoppers, Macy’s says. Plus, shoppers who used virtual reality had less than a 2% return rate on transactions. Macy’s would not reveal its average return rate.

The retailer says this is because, “customers more accurately visualize their space and add multiple furnishings with confidence.”

For Macy’s, it can offer a wider product assortment at stores using less space on the sales floor.

While virtual reality lets shoppers view virtual furniture in a virtual world, Macy’s recently launched an augmented reality feature in its iOS app that allows shoppers to view virtual furniture within the context of the real world.

For example, for products of which Macy’s has 3D models, iOS app shoppers can tap a “Visualize Your Space” button. The shopper’s smartphone camera launches, and she can view a 3D image of that piece of furniture on her screen to see how it looks in the room. This feature is only available for consumers with the iPhone 7 or newer, and Macy’s plans to launch this feature in its Android app in 2019.

Also on the augmented reality front, at 50 Macy’s stores the retailer has a mirror that allows shoppers to virtually try on 250 eye shadows or lipsticks. This allows shoppers to try on products within minutes, without needing an employee to do a makeup trial. Macy’s is testing a similar makeup try-on augmented reality feature with a “select group” of its iOS app users. Macy’s plans to expand this functionality in 2019.

Macy’s is not alone in adding tech-focused features to its stores. For example, Neiman Marcus has similar smart mirrors in its beauty department, and Lowe’s Cos. Inc. uses virtual reality in a few of its stores with Holoroom. A shopper works with an employee to design a room and then puts on a virtual reality headset to see how it would look.

Macy’s is No. 6, Lowe’s is No. 21 and Neiman Marcus is No. 43 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 500.


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