The Macy’s iPhone app
In a reflection of the growing overlap between shopping experiences on mobile applications and in stores, Macy’s is enabling users of its iPhone app to sort items by what is available at a nearby store for those who prefer to purchase from the app and pick up in store.
Macy’s updated its iPhone app recently with several new features that address how customers are embracing mobile shopping. In addition to the nearby sorting capabilities, users of the app can now stay signed in for up to six hours without re-entering their information.
“As an omnichannel retailer serving an omnichannel customer, we aim to provide shoppers with seamless interaction wherever they engage with us,” said Orlando Veras, director of national media relations at Macy’s Inc. “From mobile and desktop to the in-store shopping experience, we offer customers the opportunity to transition from one interaction to the next with ease.
“The mobile app which functions both as a shopping vehicle and as a help tool is a very important element in Macy’s omnichannel ecosystem and will continue to be a cornerstone of our mobile initiatives,” he said.
Macy’s reports that extended sessions times are something that its customers were asking for.
As mobile adoption has grown and users have become more comfortable with shopping from their smartphones, they are spending more time in shopping apps.
Longer session times also address the disjointed shopping habits of busy consumers.
For example, shoppers increasingly start a session while in the store and then finish it later.
Or, these consumers may try to fit in a few minutes of shopping between other activities, but may end up switching activities several times before they finish their shopping. Providing extended shopping sessions means these consumers can come back later and complete their shopping without having to log in again.
Giving shoppers a way to sort items in the app by what is available at a nearby store points to the growing adoption by consumer of buy online, pickup in store options.
Consumers increasingly want to research their purchases online, often from mobile phones. However, many also prefer to complete a purchase in store.
Offering in-store pickup also benefits retailers, as many shoppers will make an additional purchase once they are in the store.
As a result, a growing number of retailers are adopting in-store pickup capabilities.
For example, last summer Sears and Kmart made orders placed via mobile at either retailer available for pickup at the other (see story).
In September 2014, Staples introduced buy online, pick-up in-store, enabling customers to select a “pick up today” option when they view a product on Staples.com from desktop or mobile. The retailer promises to have orders ready for pick up within two hours (see story).
In October, Walmart began testing a new same-day pick-up concept enabling customers to order groceries online or by mobile phone and retrieve their orders from a drive-up facility (see story).
Another new feature of Macy’s iPhone app is the ability to quickly find a specific brand they are interested in with a brand index.
In September, Macy’s became the latest retailer to fire back at Amazon with its own image recognition mobile application designed to simplify searching for items on its ecommerce site by submitting a photo of an item from daily life (see story).
“We continually monitor and look at ways that we can improve the functionality and features of the Macy’s app,” Mr. Veras said. “The introduction of an extended log-in session within the app experience comes as a direct result of consumer feedback.
“Providing an extended log-in, helps to improve the overall customer experience, as shoppers interact with the app on the go or in-store,” he said.
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York
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