Macy’s Launching Its Own Self-Scanning Technology In Stores, Kinda

Image courtesy of smcgee

While Walmart tests stores where shoppers walk around scanning their own purchases with smartphones, and Amazon tests a store where customers just pick up their purchases and walk out with them, Macy’s doesn’t want to be left out. That’s why the department store chain is testing its own system, which turns its stores into a catalog showroom for smartphone users.

Scan & Wait

During today’s earnings conference call, chief financial officer Karen Hoguet talked about the app alongside the company’s ever-improving online sales numbers. The app, she said, is “a way to enhance our in-store experience.”

Hoguet explained how the app will work: “A customer can scan an item on our mobile app while in store to see pricing, availability and any product reviews. They could also then buy the item straight from the app and have it shipped.”

This may be easier than finding a cashier at times in a Macy’s store, but still seems retrograde compared to options that let customers self-scan within the store, or ordering kiosks at competitor Kohl’s that don’t even require customers to bring their own smartphones.

The idea of ordering items from inside the store might seem familiar and a bit dated if you’re old enough to remember when catalog showroom stores were still a thing. Other retailers have been way ahead of Macy’s at building their own ordering and in-store shopping apps. The new offering from Macy’s is less “Scan & Go,” more “Scan & go home and wait several days for your package to arrive.”

Like other legacy retailers, Macy’s also wants to bring customers into its stores to pick up online orders, helping to boost online revenue while saving money on actually shipping stuff to customers and maybe selling them more stuff.

One-on-one customer non-interaction

This builds on a previously announced project, though, an app meant to answer basic store questions such as, “where’s the wedding registry?” and “where are the children’s shoes?”

At the time, just over a year ago, the Macy’s chief growth officer said that the directory app would “help us explore new ways to engage one-on-one with customers in-store, providing them another level of service right at their fingertips.”

In other news

Macy’s shared some promising news about its business, including that some customers who used to shop at the chain’s stores that have since closed shifted to other nearby Macy’s locations, and the chain plans to launch an “enhanced” loyalty program close to the holiday season, in addition to the multi-retailer Plenti program in which it already takes part.