Macy’s is taking the in-store shopping experience one step further with the help of immersive technology. The retail giant has already selected 69 stores across the US which will offer customer interactive and immersive shopping experiences starting with November this year.
In-Store AR and VR Technology: A Perfect Blend of Online and Offline Shopping
The in-store concept created by Macy’s in collaboration with Marxent has already proven successful in the pilot experiment featuring select stores. The overall basket size in these pilot stores featuring the VR installation, VR for Furniture, was 60% larger compared to other Macy’s furniture stores which did not offer shoppers this experience.
As for their augmented reality shopping experience for the furniture department, called “Visualize Your Space”, it allows customers to place various pieces of furniture in their home environment. In this way, they can have a very realistic view of how the item would fit in the room and can select an adequate color to match the decorative style of their homes.
The “Visualize Your Space” AR experience is available within Macy’s mobile app, which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store (compatible with iPhone 7 and newer model). The app will be available for Android phones next year.
The First Head-Mounted Displays – The Telesphere Mask and the Headsight. You might think that strapping a display on a person’s head is a relatively new idea, but it is not. The first head-mounted displays were developed as early as the 1960s. The Telesphere Mask was the first example of a head-mounted display, which provided 3D stereoscopic and wide vision with stereo sound. However, the device lacked certain immersion, because of it being a non-interactive medium. In 1961 two Philco Corporation engineers, Comeau and Bryan, came up with the Headsight. A head-mounted display, much like the Telesphere Mask, the Headsight featured magnetic motion tracking technology, which was connected to a close circuit camera. While the goggles can be named a precursor to modern virtual reality technology, they were not developed for entertainment purposes. Instead, they were developed for the military with the idea that a person would be able to immerse themselves in the remote viewing of dangerous situations.
Augmented Reality Mirror Helps Customers Try On Beauty Product
Another immersive technology feature added by Macy’s in 50 stores across the US is a holographic mirror which allows customers to try on over 250 beauty products. The AR mirror is placed in a special kiosk inside the store, and encourages customers to try as many cosmetic and make-up products as they want, without the inconvenience of having to wipe off each product, as it happens in real life product sampling.
A similar AR experience will also soon be available within Macy’s mobile app. It is currently available as a beta version for a number of iOS users under the name Virtual Makeover, and allows customers to try on featured lip products. Once officially launched, Macy’s plans to add more AR features.
New Ways of Shopping Keep Brick and Mortar Stores Relevant
Macy’s decision to use immersive technology not only within its mobile app, but also within its stores, indicates the direction in which in-store retail will develop. People still like to walk into a store, but they want a more connected and interactive shopping experience.
Adding digital features to traditional store displays is the way to keep people coming back to a store, instead of simply sitting in their homes and using an app. It is a best of both worlds – an experience in which customers can see physical products and touch them, but can also digitally integrate them into their living space using AR and VR technology for a better understanding of how that product will really look in their home.
Travel companies are using virtual reality to allow customers to visit places and determine if they wish to visit in real life.
Macy’s is determined to expand this new shopping experience to 16 more stores across the US, most of them located in Florida and Georgia.