National department store chain Macy’s is tapping into the cognitive power of IBM’s cognitive cloud service Watson to create a web-based chatbot that can help shoppers navigate stores. Customers will be able to access the Macy’s On Call bot via their mobile browsers and ask the bot questions about where they can find certain products, store information, and store-specific events. As part of the pilot program, the digital shopping assistant will be able to help customers navigate ten select Macy’s locations around the country.
What Brands Need To Do
As we noted in our Medium post on branded chatbots, they are great for handling basic customer service and other single-focus tasks. Macy’s Watson-powered chatbot focuses on store navigation as it aims to enhance the customer experience with a digital touch. Other retailers looking to modernize their in-store experience should take note and start experimenting with new ways to connect with shoppers via mobile devices.
The Lab has extensive knowledge about building chatbots. If you’re interested in reaching your audience on messaging apps and better serving them with a chatbot, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information or to schedule a visit to the Lab.
Last week, Macy’s unveiled “One Below,” a space designed to court the digitally connected millennial shopper. Located in the basement level of its flagship store in New York’s Herald Square, the space boasts an array of brands that appeal to the generation and has technology as its focal point. It features an interactive touchscreen named “Instagram Wall,” showcasing photos tagged with #Macyslove, and a “Selfie Wall,” which allows shoppers to take a selfie with Macy’s branded images of NYC as backgrounds, in addition to a wearable-tech section, a 3-D printing area, and DIY stations with brands such as Fossil and Levi’s.
What Brands Need To Do
With the rise of ecommerce, brick-and-mortar retailers are facing increasing challenges from the digital stores. And with sales growth slowing down and its average customer age pushing 50, it seems like a logical move for Macy’s to aggressively go after the millennial shoppers with social sharing tools like Instagram Wall and DIY personalization experiences. For brands that own brick-and-mortar retail stores, now is time to embrace the in-store digital installations so as to provide young customers with a fresh, exciting shopping experience that they would love to return to.
Earlier today, Starbucks announced a partnership with ride-sharing service Lyft, which includes a plan to reward Lyft drivers and users in the states with Starbucks reward points as part of its loyalty program. Similarly, national department store chain Macy’s is also teaming up with Deliv, a Menlo Park, CA-based startup that offers on-demand delivery services, to expand same-day delivery to several new U.S. markets this summer.
With the continuous rise of the on-demand economy comes a slew of new services that present easy gateways for brands to get in on the trend and the changing consumer behaviors. In both scenarios here, a big-name national brand partners with an up-and-coming on-demand service to leverage it into expanding its existing service at a cost-effective way that also benefits the customers. In return, those lesser-known, on-demand services get introduced to a large number of mainstream consumers while also gaining legitimacy.
What Brands Should Do
Brands, especially those in retail and CPG, would be smart to consider exploring similar partnerships with compatible on-demand services that could help enhance their brand value.
Source: Reuters & GeekWire
According to a new report by Cowen & Co released on Monday, Amazon is set to sell $27.77 billion worth of apparel domestically in 2017, possibly dethroning Macy’s as the No. 1 clothing retailer in the states. Such a rosy prediction is likely due to the ecommerce giant’s efforts to woo fashion brands during the last few years. More importantly, it also dovetails nicely with the rise of ecommerce in recent years, projected to top $440 billion by 2017 in revenue, while brick-and-mortar retail continues to decline.
With the rise of ecommerce, brick-and-mortar retailers are facing increasing challenges from the digital stores. But national chain store Macy’s is staying ahead of the market with two power moves that make shopping more personalized and convenient for its customers across platforms.
The first step it took was embracing beacon technology. Macy’s announced that it is expanding the use of Shopkick-powered iBeacons to all of its stores nationwide over the next 2 months, just in time for the upcoming holiday shopping season. When completed, it will be the largest beacon installation in retail history, and provide Macy’s customers with highly personalized, interactive retail experiences.
Furthermore, the retail mainstay announced plans to offer same-day delivery service later this fall, effectively eliminating one key advantage of its digital retail competitors. Online shoppers in eight selected markets would soon have a consistent and convenient cross-platform shopping experience, whether on the web stores or mobile apps of Macy’s and its upscale subsidiary Bloomingdale’s.
As we pointed out in our recent POV on multi-platform shopping, successful retailers integrate points of sale to create a consistent customer experience, which is exactly what Macy’s is trying to achieve here. By embracing the beacon technology and on-demand economy, the 156-year-old retailer shows its strength in adapting to the changing market.