Tag: macy’s

Mobile shopping assistant to make shopping at Macy’s easier

Macy’s has partnered with IBM Watson to enhance consumer shopping experience.

An AI mobile shopping assistant tool has been launched by Macy’s at 10 of its stores nationwide. The famous and popular American department store chain developed its shopping assistant called “Macy’s on Call” with IBM Watson. The mobile companion is a cognitive mobile web tool designed to help shoppers as they navigate through Macy’s stores.

Customers can use their smartphone assistant to answer their questions.

This is the pilot stage for Macy’s mobile shopping assistant. The mobile tool, which was created in partnership with IMB Watson through intelligent engagement platform Satisfi, will be tested throughout the pilot stage at the 10 stores.

Mobile Shopping Assistant - Macy's StoreVia the mobile browser on the consumer’s personal device, they can ask questions related to the Macy’s store. For instance, a mobile customer could ask where a particular brand, department or service is located in the participating store. The assistant, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) essentially acts like a sales associate, answering their questions. It uses natural language and provides feedback within a matter of seconds.

A Spanish language feature will eventually be added to broaden its user base.

The mobile shopping assistant is part of Macy’s strategy to reinvent its business and improve sales.

Macy’s Group Vice President of Digital Media Strategy Serena Potter told the Associated Press that “We want to improve the shopping experience. We want the customers to shop at Macy’s and come back.”

The goal of the retail giant is to boost sales while freeing up employees so they can cater to more complicated customer requests.

According to the vice president of IBM Watson, Stephen Gold, once trained, the technology can register if customers become frustrated based on their answers and it can alert a sales associate. This technology is similar to AI the company is working on with other brands like North Face and 1-800 Flowers. In these cases, however, the AI tech answers questions on their websites.

Macy’s is working hard to improve its sales, which have plummeted. The company has cut its full-year profit and revenue outlook for the year and has slashed thousands of jobs. Implementing its new mobile shopping assistant, Macy’s on Call, is part of its business reinvention strategy.

Mobile marketing presents challenges to established retail

Legacy brands face struggles that newer companies don’t seem to have to deal with.

Companies built in a more digital age seem to be making the transition to a smartphone-based economy with much greater ease than legacy retailers that have a long history that hasn’t had anything to do with mobile marketing.

Macy’s was one of the companies that has a long history but that has managed to keep up with mobile tech.

According to marketing exec Serena Potter from Macy’s, the company has observed a rapid migration of customers from their desktop computers over to smartphones. That said, despite the fact that the company has a long history in brick and mortar and e-commerce, it realized that it would be vital to place a considerable focus on m-commerce and mobile marketing if it wanted to keep up with the expectations of customers. That said, while she explained that “It wasn’t an obstacle for us as much as it was a steep learning curve.” She added that “You didn’t know what you didn’t know.”

There is a great deal more than the technology that must be mastered in order to implement successful mobile marketing.

macy's mobile marketingWhat traditional retailers are discovering as they attempt to implement mobile advertising strategies is that they can’t simply stick to the same concepts that have been successful throughout their history. Using smartphones as a marketing channel is not simply a matter of running the same types of ads on a smaller screen. Instead, there is a great deal that needs to be re-learned in terms of apps, the mobile web, loyalty programs, data collection and metrics to understand which campaigns have – and have not – been successful.

These same challenges are not quite as powerful among retailers that have been created more recently, with a mobile-first mindset already in place, said Potter. She explained that Macy’s had been focusing on desktop optimization for many years and had mastered that channel. It became highly predictable. However, with mobile marketing, “you have customers accessing different information, with different intent. A lot of research and a lot of discovery is happening and it’s all on the go,” she said.