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5 minutes
After the holidays, the newsletter is back with the short opinionated column by  Guillaume Rio, our retail innovation expert.

On the programme of this transatlantic newsletter:

  • Macy’s continues to offer new in-store customer experiences with a bot,
  • Brooklyn experimenting with self-service beer,
  • Prolonging the holiday mood with a street marketing campaign somewhere between Tinder and Delta Airlines.
  • A hard look at the retail outlets: Sonos’s partnership with West Elm is thriving whereas the Microsoft store is running out of steam…


Macy’s continues to develop new services and launches its Chatbot

Have chatbots already become an everyday feature of American life? They are no longer making the headlines.

A passing fad? An adopted custom? Only consulting firms are still publishing forecasts on this market.

According to a PwC study, 27% of consumers weren’t sure if their last customer service interaction was with a human or a chatbot. But according to Gartner, chatbots will be handling more than 85% of all customer interaction in 2020.
In stores, brands are increasingly implementing the IBM Watson technology to best meet their customers’ requirements. Macy’s for instance has launched a bot, Macy’s on Call, to help customers find what is the product that interests them in the store. However, such assistance is still far from perfect, especially for in-store guides. In concrete terms, it is not a bot on Messenger but a mobile site available in store that uses Watson to help customers find the best product. Below, the mobile and web interfaces!

macys chatbot

Whether in store or at home, you can connect to the bot and ask it any question you want. So this tool is used to prepare a store visit or ask for information once in the store. Customers can make enquiries in natural language about products, the warehouse and the brand, and get personalized answers. Macy’s decided to launch this service when they noticed that customers were referring more to their smartphones than to the sales staff in store.

Watson also tests real-time translation into Spanish. The tool will learn and become smarter over time. Find out more information on Macy’service here.


A new customer experience in the bars of New York 

It’s not just stores that are innovating in search of the best customer experience, bars are too!

They need to cut waiting time during busy periods. For instance, a bar in Brooklyn proposes the “Beer ATM”. The system is very simple. You are given an RFID card in exchange for your bank card at the bar. With this card you can activate one of the 24 beer fountains. Each fountain matches a different beer and you can fill up your glass at your convenience. You no longer need to wait for the barman or a waiter. You help yourself whenever you want. Naturally the barman is still there to serve cocktails, spirits or high-end beers. When you are ready to leave, the RFID card has recorded all your orders and you only need to go and pay the bill.

bar in brooklyn with beer atm


Tinder and Delta Airlines for a street marketing campaign all in images 

One of the most striking marketing facts in Brooklyn is that there is virtually no poster advertising at all. Posters are replaced by advertisements painted by artists. That is what inspired Delta Airlines in its partnership with the Tinder dating app.
Delta asked artists to paint a fresco representing certain holiday destinations to help Tinder users show off their love of travel. You take a selfie in front of one of the painted monuments then just upload the picture to your Tinder account to give the impression that you are a seasoned traveller. You can always go there in later with Delta Airlines with your new companion.

the partnership between delta & tinder in brooklyn


Top Choice : Sonos sets up shop in furniture stores 

Loudspeaker manufacturer SONOS is not content with having opened a magnificent showroom store right in the centre of Soho. It is also increasingly present in furniture stores. A complete corner is set aside for SONOS in the West Elm store to help customers visualize how to have the best furniture and acoustics in the home. Not only can customers buy furniture in store, they can also choose the speakers that best match their environment!

Sonos in NYC for furniture shops


Questions about the Microsoft Store…

Microsoft had made the headlines in 2015 by opening its first New York store on 5th Avenue. 2 years on, the disappointment is evident. While Apple is undertaking building work to double the size of its neighbouring store (also on 5th Avenue), Microsoft’s concept store for its part still looks as if it is in the process of relocating: there are cables everywhere, products are arranged randomly and above all the staff spend more time playing on games or carrying out their own experiments than serving customers. That being the case, competing with Apple in store is becoming increasingly difficult…

not so god at microsoft concept store


Article published on August 31th 2017 by

Guillaume RIO
Echangeur Retail Innovation Expert

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