Scrolling through Instagram is a colorful, inspiring experience.

Now, Macy’s is aiming to bring that experience into life, with new Story boutiques which will be open across the US.

According to Rachel Shechtman, Story’s founder and now Macy’s brand experience officer, “the Story at Macy’s experience feels a lot like a real-life version of scrolling through Instagram. You discover things you weren’t looking for, but are inspired by all the fun finds – the second you see it, you need it!”

Why is Macy’s replicating the social media platform expereince? What are the long term implications of this decision? Find the answers to these question- along with other trending retail tech news- in our weekly blog post.

Let’s dive in.

Macy’s Launches revolving ‘Story’ boutiques to make its stores more fun

What’s the connection between a bicycle repair kit, a sneaker cleaning kit, Levi’s denim jacket, Crayola socks and reusable straws?

Macy’s will be selling all of these quirky products among the 400 items showcased at its brand new ‘Story’ themed shops.

Reminder: last year Macy’s acquired Story, which resembles a gallery-like pop-up store. The shop will now only exist within Macy’s locations and not as a standalone store, and will offer workshops and events.

The ‘Story’ boutiques will also feature a rotating set of merchandise, looks, and product lineup every six to eight weeks, and will be integrated into 36 Macy’s stores in 15 states in the US starting this month. The first theme which will run through late June, is color.

Except at the department store’s Herald Square flagship, where Story occupies 7,500 square feet on the main floor and mezzanine levels, the Story spaces average 1,500 square feet.

‘Story’ offers a radically different approach from how Macy’s —and other large retailers — typically operate, with long lead times and predictable merchandise. The idea is for shoppers to want to pop into Macy’s, get surprised and buy something knowing it might be not there on their next visit.

Upscale chains like Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s have started adopting this practice as well. The store-in-store concept comes as Macy’s and other retailers are facing falling sales, as consumers increasingly migrate to online shopping.

Overall, Story seems like a step in the right direction for the department store,  following beauty stores like Sephora and Ulta that have managed to make in-store experiences a major draw.

macy's

Image Source: Philly

Shipt and Petco partner for same-day delivery

Pet owners out there- it’s your lucky day.

Petco and online grocery delivery company Shipt announced this week on a new partnership, offering same-day delivery of pet supplies from nearly 1,300 Petco stores nationwide.

Starting April 18th, Shipt members in more than 200 market areas could get Petco delivery in as soon as one hour. Until then, anyone who signs up for a Shipt membership can get it for $49 instead of the regular $99 annual fee.

Founded in 2014, the last-mile service is growing swiftly. In 2017, the company was acquired by Target for $550 million. Shipt recently tied up with CVS stores, allowing it to bring prescription delivery within hours to 6,000 stores.

The cooperation with the drugstore retailer makes sense for Target- after it sold its own pharmacy operations to CVS in 2015. The partnership with Petco is interesting, however, in light of Target’s own increasing pet supplies sales.

petco

Image Source: Shipt

Amazon Go will accept cash payments

Save your change.

According to CNBC,  Amazon will begin accepting cash payments in its cashier-free Go stores.

The online retailer has not specified a timeline, nor has it determined precisely how it will accept cash payments.  In a company meeting last month, senior vice president of physical stores Steve Kessel said Amazon plans to add “additional payment mechanisms” to the stores.

Amazon has faced criticism for its cash-free policy lately, with the recent efforts that have institutionalized in Philadelphia, San Francisco and New York to ban cashless stores.  According to lawmakers and critics, Amazong GO and others like it of discriminating against consumers who don’t have a bank account or credit card, which represent 6.5% of the U.S. population.

Amazon has reportedly requested an exemption from Philadelphia’s law, but continuing to fight legislation state by state could be problematic: if states continue in this path, Amazon’s goal to open 3,000 Go stores by 2021 could be hindered.

Consequently, Amazon has been working on adding additional payment methods, and has piloted new programs such as Amazon Cash, which allows shoppers to add cash to their digital account, as well as the ability to accept SNAP benefits online.

amazon-go-restricted-super-tease

Image Source: Retail Dive

Final Thoughts

When thinking of what retail of the future will look like, one of the first things that come to mind is cashless stores, with Amazon GO taking the lead.

However, with recent backlash against cashless stores in some of the major markets where Amazon currently operates Go stores, as well as those where it’s looking to grow- it looks like cash is here to stay. Amazon’s recent decision to cash payments shows the company is carefully weighing its options.

Now, we’ll just have to wait and see whether Amazon GO’s international takeover will really take place, and if so- in which pace.

 

Inbal Perlman

Inbal is the community and hub manager of the Re:Tech hub, a co-workingspace for retail and e-commerce startups based in the heart of Tel Aviv. The Hub offers its members industry focused events, access to global partners and various opportunities in the global and local retail tech ecosystem.

If you are in retail and would like to learn what new technologies can help push your business forward, get in touch.