Department store retailer Macy’s invested in tech startup b8ta earlier this summer to develop The Market, Macy’s experiential-based retail concept.
Markets are spaces within already existing Macy’s stores that allow online brands to maintain a physical presence so potential customers can try out items before purchasing.
B8ta already works with brands to design and create retail experiences and mostly focuses on allowing customers to try out new tech products. Brands that primarily operate online can use b8ta to provide a small-scale physical presence to customers. B8ta provides the space and software for inventory, checkout, point of sale, staff scheduling, and more, which is what will help Macy’s to scale The Market quickly, according to TechCrunch.
B8ta currently operates ten stores, including locations in Austin, Houston, San Francisco, Santa Monica, and Seattle. It has partnered with brands like Thync, a wearable meant to improve meditation practices; Gi Flybike, a folding electric bicycle; and Netgear, a networking hardware company.
As Macy’s has faced slower sales and the pressure to close stores, the company is looking to pivot its strategy and invest in tech. Its concept The Market will give online brands the chance to sell products in a physical setting, boosting sales for those brands but also attracting customers into the rest of the Macy’s store. Markets will carry goods from all of a typical Macy’s sections including apparel, beauty, and home.
According to CNBC, there are 10 Market locations already operating inside existing Macy’s stores, and Macy’s plans to open more shortly.