Shopping can be a hassle and Macy's knows it.But the department store retailer is rolling out mobile checkouts so shoppers can check themselves out and avoid the long lines."If you want to talk about the single biggest pain point in our stores right now, it's the checkout process," said Jeff Gennette, Macy's chairman and chief executive officer."It's finding the register — is there going to be somebody there and is there a long line of customers and how long is it going to take me to get out?""So being able to turn that control over to a customer, to scan and check out for themselves, we think is a big win."Gennette, speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Consumer & Retail Technology Conference on Tuesday, said Macy's has been testing mobile checkout and will roll it out to 450 of Macy's 700 doors by the end of this year.It requires having downloaded the Macy's app and scanning the products being purchased at stations by Macy's main doors manned by Macy's personnel removing the Sensormatic security tags.Mobile checkout is just one part of Macy's innovation program, which also calls for rolling out open-sell shoe and cosmetic areas and Backstage in the stores so shoppers can rummage through the racks for the thrill of the off-price treasure hunt. Backstage off-price departments are currently in roughly 45 Macy doors and are being introduced to another 100 this year."Off-price is ferocious," Gennette said about the competitive sector. He said two-thirds of Macy's core customers shop off-price, and 70 percent of Millennials — the demographic Macy's is doubling down on — shop off-price."We've got to be competent in off-price. And it's not just at Backstage. It's also at Bloomingdale's outlet. We're perfecting the formula of the Bloomingdale's outlet."Last week, the $25 billion Macy's reported that its fourth-quarter net profit rose to $1.33 billion, versus $475 million in the year-ago period, and that it had its first quarterly comparable-sales growth in three years, though they were down 1.9 for 2017 overall. Officials said during a conference call then that Macy’s is upping investments in stores; has a new incentive program employees based on achieving quarterly goals; that it's growing online orders through vendor direct-to-consumer deliveries known as “drop-shipping,” and monetizing unproductive real estate.They also said that 50 Macy stores are getting special treatment by being “hyper-localized with extreme editing” so hot items stand out and there’s less clutter and shopping is easier while getting new fitting rooms, restrooms, flooring and lighting; remade women’s shoe floors with assisted and open-sell formats and new technology such as automated pricing tags.They're also adding big-ticket items, primarily furniture and mattresses; installing Backstage off-price departments; bringing in top managers and better-trained selling associates; extending store hours, and intensifying marketing tailored to the local area.Last week, Bloomingdale's, which accounts for roughly 10 percent of the overall Macy's Inc. business, was left out of the conversation. However on Tuesday, Gennette said, "One thing that we love about the Bloomingdale's brand is it's a good harbinger about where things might go. So in terms of trends, vendors, customer sentiment, we see it often in Bloomingdale's first. So it's a really good focus group for Macy's content. But Bloomingdale's is doing quite well. They're figuring out what they need to do in digital, what they need to do in store experience, what they need to do in individual bricks-and-mortar growth and very happy with the progress the Bloomingdale's team is making on those subjects. And it depends on what area of the country it is and the battles that they're fighting right now, but this is a fit team that is up to it."
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