Macy's Reinvents the Customer Experience

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Macy's Reinvents the Customer Experience

By Patrycja Malinowska - 03/12/2019

Macy’s is weaving innovative technology across all different platforms — in-store, online and mobile — to help create a better experience for its customers by giving them more options to shop the way they want.

Part of a panel presentation at ShopTalk last week, executive vice president and general business manager of beauty Nata Dvir shared several current shopper-facing projects leveraging technology to evolve the retailer's beauty experience.

In-Store Fragrance Finder

One of the investments is intended to add value in a category in which Macy's is already winning: fragrance. Noticing that in-store customers shop fragrances by brand, but online they search by scent families, the retailer’s digital and store merchants together identified an opportunity to create a digitally driven, approachable alternative that replicates the online fragrance shopping experience in stores.

The result is an interactive fragrance display created by New York-based retail tech company Perch that will roll out to select stores in May, letting customers shop by their favorite notes across different scent families. Shoppers will start by taking a quiz to narrow down their preferred scent family, and then will pick up each bottle on the display to learn more about its scent notes and the brand story. The digital interface will offer more information on each fragrance automatically the moment a shopper touches a bottle and will suggest scents that match their preferences.

“I’m really excited to see how that’s going to bring in a new customer to explore our existing assortment in new ways,” Dvir said.

The investment provides an extension of the traditional counter experience, offering shoppers another way to find their preferred scent through an in-store display that mirrors the way that they shop online. It will also let the retailer analyze how shoppers interact with the bottles on the display to learn more about consumer behavior.

“We’re so excited to see what we’re going to be learning through Perch … how often she picks up the bottle, what she ends up purchasing and really understand where in the process she’s making that decision,” Dvir said.

Augmented Reality Beauty Experience

“As we’ve been learning from the site to inform in-store merchandising, we’ve also been taking some of the learnings to think about how the customer is engaging with us on her digital journey on her mobile app,” Dvir said.

Through a partnership with L'Oreal-owned ModiFace, the retailer will offer an AR-enabled experience both via its mobile application and in select stores that lets shoppers digitally try on makeup from a range of brands. Macy's tested the app experience with a small number of users last fall, letting customers virtually trial some 20 lip beauty products.

“It’s hard to buy lipstick online if you don’t know what red looks like versus berry and cherry, so how do you take those different colors and bring them to life online?” Dvir said.

Later this spring, the retailer will scale the enhancement to all app users and expand it to include more than 1,000 beauty products across major brands covering face, eyes and lip cosmetics.

“Long gone are the days of swatching all the different shades of red on your hand, now you can try them all digitally,” Dvir said.

Relieving some of those pain points is a conversion play but it’s also about the experience, encouraging discovery by letting users test single products or entire looks that they can also share on social media.

Breaking Down Silos

Macy’s has been able to implement such cross-platform innovation by first fostering effective organizational communication. Different teams regularly share all the best practices that are happening under their purview, both across products categories as well as channels.

“We really make sure we protect our market share and continue to grow by constantly innovating,” Dvir said.

Dvir was one of several top female executives speaking at ShopTalk, all of whom underscored that the department store chain is undergoing a transformation.

"We know we have to disrupt ourselves," echoed chief financial officer Paula Price in another presentation. "Macy's is reinventing the customer experience with a newfound sense of urgency."