Macy's installs virtual reality in 70 stores

US department store chain Macy’s said this week that it is enabling customers to discover products and make more informed buying decisions by deploying a furniture-focused virtual reality (VR) experience in around 70 stores.

A further 20 locations in the US are expected to have the VR installations by January 2019, indicating Macy’s confidence in the retail technology.

Macy’s is working with Marxent to bring the technology to its stores, following in the footsteps of Ashley Furniture which has been working with the supplier for several years. Essential Retail reported on the technology and its potential as part of one of its many roundups of the NRF Big Show in 2017.

In three pilot stores where VR was used in trial phase, VR-influenced furniture sales have increased by more than 60% versus non-VR furniture sales. They also decreased returns to less than 2%, according to the retailer.

Macy’s said customers are more accurately visualising their spaces and adding multiple furnishings with confidence by using the technology. Using VR also allows Macy’s to offer a full range of furniture in a significantly smaller space than before.

Hal Lawton, president of Macy’s, remarked: “Macy’s is constantly looking for ways to bring excitement and fresh experiences to our customers.

“Through the Macy’s VR furniture experience, we are giving our customers a new way to visualise a large selection of furniture products. Customers design their living space and, using a VR headset, immerse themselves in the virtual rooms they create.”

He added: “VR is a practical application proven to drive sales and a terrific example of combining technology and the human touch.”

Beck Besecker, co-founder and CEO of Marxent, said: “With Macy’s VR furniture experience, 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. The technology decreases return rates and VR gives customers a real omnichannel experience.”

Macy’s has also introduced an augmented reality furniture experience called ‘See Your Space IRL’, which allows customers to virtually place Macy’s furniture products in their actual living spaces prior to making a purchase. The feature 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 next year.

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