In order to keep up with Amazon’s aggressive push into the retail sector, Macy’s is turning to its dressing rooms to keep consumers coming back for more.
The department store chain is upgrading its fitting rooms with high-tech gadgets in order to build upon one of the few advantages brick-and-mortar retailers have over their eCommerce-only rivals, Bloomberg reported yesterday (Aug. 18).
“That is the one weapon they have against Amazon,” Bridget Weishaar, an analyst at Morningstar Investment Services, told Bloomberg. “When you’re shopping for certain things, you’re going to want to try it on and see it on you.”
Macy’s plans for its revamped dressing rooms include using technology such as smartphones and tablets to enhance the customers’ shopping experience.
According to Bloomberg, Macy’s is piloting these new fitting rooms in the women’s swimsuit and athletic department at a store in Manhattan Beach, California, where customers can browse products displayed on mannequins and use a Macy’s app on their mobile device to have a particular item delivered to a dressing room in their selected size.
Once in the fitting room, customers can request additional sizes and other items using the same mobile app. The goal is to have customers trying on clothes more and rummaging through racks less.
Now may be the best time for Macy’s to use every advantage it has, with analysts from financial services firm Cowen recently predicting Amazon will become the No. 1 U.S. apparel retailer by 2017, “comfortably passing” Macy’s for the top spot.
The team of Cowen analysts, led by John Blackledge, said it estimated Amazon’s U.S. retail apparel gross merchandise value will rise from $16 billion in 2015 to $52 billion in 2020, with the company’s U.S. market share increasing to 14 percent, up from 5 percent.
In what may be an even more concerning concept for the established retailers, Cowen’s research found approximately 11 percent of apparel customers at Target and Walmart purchased clothing from Amazon during the first half of 2015, up from 8 percent reported in the first half of 2014.
But when it comes to same-day delivery, Macy’s still may have a leg up on Amazon.
As of May 2, the retailer operates 886 stores throughout the U.S. from which it could potentially deliver products, resulting in packages having a much shorter distance to travel as compared to the 50 fulfillment centers and distribution facilities Amazon utilizes.
“It’s very hard to compete with Amazon, but traditional retailers have an advantage in that they already have all of their inventory in place five miles from 90 percent of their purchasing population at their stores,” Deliv CEO Daphne Carmeli told Reuters earlier this year.
“This is one of those opportunities to out-Amazon Amazon,” she said.