Area Macy's store adds virtual reality technology

October 26, 2018

Shoppers at Macy’s Castleton Square Mall store can now use virtual reality technology to help them decide on furniture purchases.

Macy’s started rolling out the technology earlier this year, following a pilot test at three stores in New York, New Jersey and Florida. About 70 Macy’s stores now have it, and the retailer plans to add it in another 20 locations by January. As of now, the Castleton store is the only Macy's in Indiana with the technology.

Here’s how it works: An in-store customer uses a digital tablet to map the dimensions and shape of, for instance, his or her living room. After that, the customer selects items from Macy’s furniture offerings and arranges them in the virtual room. Finally, the customer can put on a virtual reality headset, enter the virtual room and walk around to see how everything looks.

In its three pilot stores, Macy’s says the virtual-reality service helped boost furniture sales by by more than 60 percent. The technology also decreased returns to less than 2 percent, Macy’s says.

Macy’s is partnering with Marxent Labs LLC on this project. Marxent, which is based in the Dayton suburb of Kettering, Ohio, develops virtual reality and augmented reality technology for retailers.

“With Macy’s virtual reality furniture experience, customers can take a 2-D floorplan and transition it to 3-D in real time,” Marxent cofounder and CEO Beck Besecker said in written remarks. 

Marxent technology also powers an augmented reality feature on Macy’s mobile app. Using the tool, called See Your Space IRL, at-home customers can virtually place Macy’s furniture in their home to see how it looks and fits before purchasing. The app rolled out in April for Apple’s iPhone 7 and newer models, and it will be available on Android devices next year.

Macy’s is not the only retailer that’s using virtual and augmented reality.

A few examples from other retailers: 

Home-improvement chain Lowe’s rolled out a virtual-reality space called the Holoroom at 19 U.S. stores in 2015, and its mobile app also includes an augmented reality feature.

Home-furnishing retailer IKEA launched its IKEA Place augmented reality mobile app for Apple’s iOS 11 platform last fall, and on Android devices this spring.

Online home-furnishings retailer Wayfair launched a virtual reality app, Patio Playground, on Facebook’s Oculus Rift platform in August 2016. It also launched WayfairView, an augmented reality app, in November 2016.

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