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Macy will let shoppers use mobile app to skip the sales clerk

Macy's on Monday unveiled some new gee-whiz features coming to its mobile app including Mobile Checkout, which lets customers scan and pay for products with a smartphone. | AP file photo

Macy’s will soon let you bypass the sales clerk in the purchasing process.

The department store chain on Monday unveiled some new gee-whiz features coming to its mobile app including Mobile Checkout, which lets customers scan and pay for products with a smartphone.

That feature is expected to be available nationwide in all of Macy’s full-line stores by the end of this year. Also in the works: an augmented reality furniture shopping experience rolling out next month in the app.

“We think of the Macy’s app as a key we hand to our customers, a key that allows them to unlock an enhanced shopping experience – a world of possibilities,” Macy’s chairman and CEO Jeff Gennette said Monday in a statement. “With this powerful tool in hand, we give them the opportunity to engage with us on their terms. And we keep adding exciting new features to it based on what they tell us.”

Most merchandise in stores will be available for mobile checkout, with the exception of certain product categories as noted per store, such as leased departments or fine jewelry where a sales associate is needed to complete the purchase.

Customers who want to test Macy’s mobile checkout when testing begins later this month at its Bloomingdale’s SoHo store in New York City will need to download the app, which is available for Android and iOS devices. Once in the store, customers must join Macy’s free Wi-Fi network.

When a customer finds an item they want to buy, they can scan the item’s price tag wtih their smartphone’s camera. The app will let shoppers apply any discounts or loyalty plan rewards to their purchase and pay via the credit card registered within the app.

Macy’s mobile shopping process is a bit different from Amazon’s Go clerk-free grocery store, which it opened in January. In Amazon’s store, shoppers can walk out without ever encountering a sales person.

Macy’s shoppers using the mobile pay option will still proceed to special Mobile Checkout counters near the exit to have their purchase verified, security tags removed from their purchases and all their goods bagged.

With the augmented furniture feature, shoppers will be able to place Macy’s tables and couches in their own actual dining and living rooms to see how they look.

Beyond that, the retailer plans to add a virtual reality furniture experience into 60 stores by this fall. Furniture shoppers can use the VR tools to deploy and design a fully-furnished room to see how it looks.