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Macy’s scores on tablet shopping with digital spring catalog

March 11, 2014

Macy's tablet-optimized catalog

Macy’s new tablet-optimized digital catalog highlights the potential that retailers have with bigger devices in building a comprehensive, interactive shopping experience.

The digital version of Macy’s spring catalog at is optimized for desktops, tablets and mobile phones. The tablet experience specifically emphasizes video and links to commerce-enabled pages that are easier to navigate than either the smartphone or desktop experiences.

“I think it’s relatively successful [from a commerce perspective] — I love that they’re pushing in-store events,” said Matthew Knuti, director of strategy at Fuzz Productions, New York.

“It’s a signal that Macy’s is focused on the omnichannel experience and weaving in-store and digital back and forth,” he said.

Mr. Knuti is not affiliated with Macy’s. He spoke based on his expertise on the subject.

Macy’s did not meet press deadline.

Tablet shopping
When accessed from either a smartphone or tablet, the digital catalog fits to the size of the screen.

From there, consumers can flip through 131 shoppable pages of spring looks. Links to each of the products are embedded into the pages so that when consumers tap on a photo, they can shop the item from the product page on Macy’s Web and mobile site.

A page in the digital catalog

A click-through directs to the product page

Additionally, Macy’s has incorporated short video clips throughout the catalog for a closer look on what the products look like. Towards the end of the video, buttons pop up at the bottom of the screen that consumers can click on to shop the products.

Although the catalog is available on multiple devices, the tablet experience is the clear winner in Macy’s spring campaign.

Unlike both the mobile and desktop experience, all of the links to the product pages from the tablet catalog live within a single experience so that consumers are not constantly opening up new browser windows to learn more about the products featured.

A shoppable video

When consumers click through on a video link, the video is pulled up in a side-by-side window. Once the clip ends, the video can easily be closed and consumers can continue to browse through the catalog.

Compared to the tablet, the smartphone experience in particular is cumbersome with the smaller screen. Every time that a consumer clicks on a product in the digital catalog from a smartphone, a new window opens, making it difficult for consumers to view multiple products in the catalog.

Additionally, the shoppable videos are not available on the smartphone version of the site.

Ramping up digital revenue

Tablets continue to churn out high conversions for retailers, with IBM reporting that 19.4 percent of online holiday sales last year came from the devices. To compare, only 9.3 percent of online sales came from smartphones (see story).

Despite the bigger revenue opportunity, many retailers have been hesitant to optimize digital experiences specifically for tablets because of the investments needed to tweak a Web site slightly.

Macy’s is promoting the digital catalog on its Web site and mail catalogs with calls-to-action that specifically encourage consumers to use their tablets to access the content.

In addition to the digital spring catalog, Macy’s is also running an in-app game that gives consumers the chance to win prizes this spring (see story).

From a pure browsing perspective, we don’t need to look further then our own living or family room to see the impact tablets have had on casual browsing and online research,” said Paul Alvarez, vice president of sales and business development at Atimi Software, Vancouver, Canada.

“For example, few in the family setting fire-up their desktop or lug around their laptop to further research on a product or service that catches their eye while watching TV, and in my experience, catalog shopping is an act of leisure, something done on the couch or at the local coffee shop, all places where the tablet form factor wins out.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York 

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