Macy’s takes stake in retail-as-a-service tech firm
Macy’s announced yesterday that it is partnering with b8ta, a retail-as-a-service startup founded in 2015 with the goal of giving consumers access to try new technology products before they buy. The department store retailer has also taken a minor stake in b8ta, with the intent of using its software platform to scale The Market @ Macy’s, the chain’s in-store pop-up concept.
“Macy’s is in the experience business. We’re always looking for new formats that allow our customers to discover and connect with our products and services in-store in a way that drives engagement with our brand,” said Hal Lawton, president of Macy’s, in a statement.
“We believe physical retail will thrive as a platform for discovering new products and brands. Macy’s was the best partner for b8ta to scale our pioneering retail-as-a-service model to a breadth of categories like apparel, beauty, home, and more,” said Vibhu Norby, CEO of b8ta. “With b8ta’s software platform and business model, product makers can go from solely selling online to launching their products with Macy’s in a few clicks. Our platform makes it easy for makers to deploy, manage, analyze, and scale amazing offline retail experiences.”
To date, Macy’s has opened its pop-up concept in 10 locations. The initiative has been pitched as a turnkey operational solution enabling companies to reach Macy’s customers. Those companies in the pop-up locations pay Macy’s a fee for the space while keeping all the sales revenue. The minimum rental length is one-month, and rates vary based on the store.
Over the next year, Macy’s plans to test different size spaces using b8ta’s technology. The retailer expects to expand the size of The Market @ Macy’s in some locations. Along with its recent acquisition of STORY, the department store chain sees The Market @ Macy’s as another way to establish itself as a destination for experiences that will enhance engagement with shoppers across its locations.
STORY, which was founded in 2011 by Rachel Shechtman, completely changes its layout and merchandise every four to eight weeks with a new theme. The concept emphasizes brand collaboration and focuses on delivering new experiences to consumers. Ms. Shechtman, a former brand consultant for Kraft and TOMS shoes, is now Macy’s brand experience officer.
- Macy’s Continues In-Store Innovation Using b8ta to Enhance and Scale The Market @ Macy’s Experiential Retail Concept – Macy’s
- Macy’s launches in-store pop-up concept for brands – RetailWire
- Macy’s latest acquisition is all about STORYtelling – RetailWire
- New Brookstone concept brings makers to the mall – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How do you see Macy’s using STORY and The Market to create compelling experiences for shoppers in its stores? Do you expect Macy’s to successfully ramp up The Market pop-up concept via its partnership with b8ta?