Dayton-bred VR tech to be featured in 90 Macy’s stores next year

Macy’s and Kettering-based Marxent say they are driving the “largest virtual reality rollout in retail history.”

Macy’s said in a recent joint statement with Marxent that it has deployed Marxent’s virtual reality (VR) technology in about 70 stores nationwide, with plans to add 20 new locations early next year.

“The companies expect to add another 20 locations by January 2019,” they said in the joint statement just released. “In partnership with Marxent, Macy’s is enabling customers to discover products and make informed buying decisions using the Macy’s VR furniture experience.”

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As the technology has been described: Customers can map out the basic dimensions and shape of the room for which they are buying furniture. They select items they want from the Macy’s furniture offerings and lay them out virtually in the room.

Wearing a headset, customers get a feel for how the furniture looks in that space by virtually “stepping into” the room, using the headsets to “walk around”, say, a coffee table, couch or other furnishings.

In the three pilot stores, VR-influenced furniture sales have increased by more than 60 percent versus non-VR furniture sales and decreased returns to less than 2 percent, the companies said in their joint release.

“Customers are more accurately visualizing their spaces and adding multiple furnishings with confidence. The program also allows Macy’s to offer a full range of furniture in a dramatically smaller space,” they said.

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“With Macy’s VR furniture experience, customers can take a 2D floorplan and transition it to 3D in real time,” Beck Besecker, Marxent co-founder and chief executive, said in the statement. “Macy’s VR for furniture is an easy to use application and consumers have a huge selection to choose from. The technology decreases return rates and VR gives customers a real omnichannel experience.”

In a separate statement, he also said: “People can’t believe that it’s possible to create this kind of technology here in Dayton, but we have a smart, talented team, many of whom were raised and educated in the area. It’s a widely held misconception that you have to relocate to work on meaningful high-tech projects like this -- one we hope to change.”

In Ohio, customers can try Marxent VR technology at Macy’s stores in Easton Town Center in Columbus, Tuttle Crossing Furniture in Dublin, Lima and Summit.

Marxent is moving from the Miami Valley Research Park in Kettering to Austin Landing in Miami Twp. The move should be complete by Thanksgiving.

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