Macy’s gets pointers from Hointer on fighting Amazon
A RetailWire story in 2013 asked, "Is Hointer the Future of U.S. Clothing Stores?" That question remains to be answered, but a new report from Bloomberg suggests the company’s unique system of displaying merchandise combined with an automated system that delivers clothes directly to customers in their fitting rooms, may play an important role in Macy’s department stores going forward.
Hointer, founded by Nadia Shouraboura, a former executive at Amazon, works by using mannequins or racks to display a single fashion item. Shoppers use the company’s app to connect with tags on items they are interested in trying on. They then go to their own personal fitting room where the items are waiting. The fitting room is equipped with a tablet on the wall. Customers can select additional sizes, colors, etc., which are then delivered in the same manner.
In a video on Bloomberg, Ms. Shouraboura said, "It is about enabling the customer to try on many items, to see the beauty of the collection, but not have to lug your clothes to the fitting room or go in and out, dress, undress, go back and forward from the fitting room. And it’s about making shopping fun."
Macy’s, according to Bloomberg, recently changed its women’s swimsuit and athletic department in Manhattan Beach, CA from its standard merchandising display to the Hointer system. Customers shop the store with items displayed on mannequins. When they find items they want to try on, they use their Macy’s app to have them sent to fitting rooms.
Ms. Shouraboura described the cost of turning Macy’s existing fitting rooms to a Hointer-like version as minimal. She also said experience shows that shoppers go into fitting rooms with a couple of items and wind up trying on many more, leading to increased purchases in the store.
"The ability to leverage their (Macy’s) store base really differentiates them from the majority of e-commerce players," Bridget Weishaar, an analyst at Morningstar Investment Services, told Bloomberg’s Lindsey Rupp. "They have over 900 stores and so the easier they make it to get the product to the customer as quickly as possible is going to give them an edge."
- Macy’s Tests Chutes, Tablets in Dressing Rooms to Repel Amazon – Bloomberg
- Macy’s Turns on ‘Smart Dressing Rooms’ to Combat Amazon – Bloomberg
- Macy’s fights online shopping with a tablet in fitting rooms – Engadget
- Is Hointer the Future of U.S. Clothing Stores? – RetailWire
- Hointer’s New Tricks for Bricks – RetailWire
Do you see Macy’s expanding the Hointer merchandise display and fitting room system to a large numbers of its stores over the next couple of years? What particular challenges, operational or otherwise, do you think retailers using this system will have to face, for example, during particularly heavy shopping periods?