Macy’s Inc. will invest in retailer B8ta as part of a strategic focus on enhancing the in-store customer experience.
Inside B8ta's Austin store
The undisclosed investment will give Macy's a minority stake. Macy's says it will leverage B8ta’s software platform to scale The Market @ Macy’s, an experiential retail concept launched earlier this year, making Macy's a strategic partner with B8ta in this ‘retail-as-a-service’ model.
“Macy’s is in the experience business. We’re always looking for new formats that allow our customers to discover and connect with our products and services in-store in a way that drives engagement with our brand,” said Hal Lawton, president of Macy’s, in a press release. “We’re pleased to deepen our partnership with B8ta [in a way] that will provide the technology engine for The Market @ Macy’s. This will allow us to scale The Market @ Macy’s concept faster, furthering our goal of bringing more excitement and fresh experiences into our stores.”
B8ta CEO Vibhu Norby is equally upbeat. "At B8ta, we believe physical retail will thrive as a platform for discovering new products and brands," Norby said. "Macy’s was the best partner for B8ta to scale our pioneering retail-as-a-service model to a breadth of categories like apparel, beauty, home and more. With B8ta’s software platform and business model, product makers can go from solely selling online to launching their products with Macy’s in a few clicks. Our platform makes it easy for makers to deploy, manage, analyze and scale amazing offline retail experiences."
The Market @ Macy’s launched in February and now operates at 10 Macy’s stores across the country. The aim is to help emerging and established brands alike to reach new audiences. Each shop brings a rotating selection of apparel, accessories, beauty products, entertainment, decorative home items, stationary, technology and gifts.
B8ta's Seattle storefront
The customized software platform will be a driver for managing the brands and experiences and for scaling The Market @ Macy’s concept to new locations. B8ta’s ability to attract new products in the home and consumer electronics space will provide opportunity for bringing new product categories to select Macy’s stores.
Over this next year The Market @ Macy’s will test new size formats powered by the B8ta technology and enlarge some of the existing pilot locations. Plans for future growth are under way.
This B8ta partnership and the recent acquisition of Story are examples of Macy’s unfolding strategy to enhance stores with experience-based concepts and to drive customer engagement.
By Brannon Boswell