In-store digital upgrades integral to Macy's $400 million renovation

Retailers reach out to their local customers to drive loyalty and sales in the recession
Retailers reach out to their local customers to drive loyalty and sales in the recession

Macy's is giving itself a gift just in time for the holiday season.

The department store announced plans for a $400 million renovation of its flagship retail location. According to a Macy's statement, work will begin in early spring 2012 and continue in phases through the fall of 2015. The store will remain open and operating during construction.

Upgrades include a 100,000-square-foot expansion of the store's selling space, a new hall of luxury brands, the creation of the world's largest women's shoe department featuring as many as 300,000 pairs of shoes available on any given day and, more importantly to our digital readers, “ an infusion” of technology and new media into the shopping experience throughout the store.

The retailer will build interactive store directories, a system to stream live video feeds of Macy's events nationwide, digital product information, an enhanced shoe locator system, new way finding signage and a new mobile app to guide customers as they shop.

Macy's isn't the only retailer using technological enhancements to build a more enjoyable shopping experience for consumers.

Disney Store announced last year that it would attempt to turn its stores into “imagination parks” driven by technology that would allow guests to interact with displays and a touch-screen theater.

Nordstrom said in July that it would “pilot a few different abilities to better respond to customers who increasingly want to use their mobile device [in-store].” Enhancements include mobile checkout and the ability for sales associates to look up past purchases via an iPod touch.

Expect to see more announcements of this ilk in the future.

According to a July report by RSR Research, 70% of retailers find cross-channel customer and inventory synchronization technologies through real-time updates valuable.  Seventy-eight percent of retailers list modern point-of-sale systems as an important factor in the customer experience and 75% say offering in-store rewards or coupons is critical to their business. Fifty-seven percent of respondents believe delivering information to store-owned phones, tablets and PDAs has a lot of potential value, an increase of 36 percentage points compared with the same survey in 2010.

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