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Macy?s turns mobile into shopping stylist with appointment booking options

Macy?s is introducing a complimentary personal shopping service that enables consumers to book an appointment with a stylist via a mobile-optimized site, highlighting smartphones? journey into becoming must-have shopping companions.

The My [email protected] service will be available at select bricks-and-mortar locations nationwide, and aims to offer a more personalized shopping experience in a bid to undercut competition away from other department store brands. Macy?s is allowing customers to book appointments at any of the 135 participating locations by calling 800-343-0121 or visiting on their mobile devices, proving its dedication to reaching on-the-go shoppers.

?I think this is a great way for Macy's to offer its customers a personalized shopping experience that is not only helpful to customers, but also feels more high-end and exclusive,? said Carolina Garcia, strategist at Fuzz Productions, Brooklyn, NY.

?They made a smart decision by making My [email protected] a mobile-optimized site because it's a new product and the company needs to understand the appetite consumers have for the service as well as how feasible it is, from an operations perspective, prior to scaling the initiative and investing in a new, native mobile product or including it as a feature in the Macy's mobile app,? she said.

Ms. Garcia is not affiliated with Macy?s but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Easy bookings
The retailer will likely raise awareness for many of its products, clothing and accessories lines via the new service. Enabling consumers to book a spur-of-the-moment appointment furthers the brand?s desire to pamper customers and offer streamlined ways of staying in contact with store associates.

Smartphone users may visit the mobile-optimized site to book their appointment. The site displays rotating imagery that encourages consumers to consider what they may need a stylist?s help for, ranging from occasions including going to a party, searching for a gift and shopping for a new work wardrobe.

Consumers may then click the ?Book Your Appointment? button on their device?s screen to pull up the sign-up page. Guests must fill in personal information including their address, input what occasion they would like the appointment to focus on and select preferred appointment dates and times.

The mobile-optimized feature is likely to yield even more appointment bookings, which will help Macy?s market its extensive inventory of items and potentially introduce shoppers to new products with which they have not yet become acquainted.

However, the department store brand could stand to streamline the sign-up process even more by allowing guests to sign in via their Macy?s account.

?They should definitely offer customers the option to sign up to the service using their Macy?s account and avoid forcing non-registered users to fill out an extensive sign-up form prior to booking their first appointment,? Ms. Garcia said.

It is also imperative for the retailer to roll out the booking tool to users of its mobile application. This move will ensure that the new service reaches all Macy?s fans who may be interested in leveraging a stylist?s expert advice.

Consumers are not required to buy anything that their stylist shows them.

Mobile?s role in shopping
An increasing amount of brands are realizing mobile's potential in bridging offline shopping with the in-store experience.

The fitting room is shaping up as the next frontier in the mobile transformation of in-store experiences, with Macy?s currently testing a program in one store and other retailers exploring similar strategies (see story).

If Macy?s sees successful usage of the My [email protected] platform, other bricks-and-mortar department stores could be quick to follow up with their own versions.

However, Macy?s must ensure that it taps all areas of mobile to promote the service and make the appointment booking process as easy as possible for all consumers. If a user encounters difficulties in entering his or her information and becomes frustrated, he or she may be deterred from ever attempting to sign up again.

?During this trial period, [Macy?s] should certainly use the app to promote My [email protected] and re-direct users to the mobile-optimized site to book their first appointment,? Ms. Garcia said.

?If they decide to move forward and scale the service, then they should input it into the Macy's mobile app and leverage the data they already have -- previous purchases and search history -- to provide My [email protected] staff with the user's shopping preferences.?

Final Take
Alex Samuely, editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York