Macy’s and Bloomingdales installing WiFi in all stores

Macy’s is rolling out Wi-Fi access in all of its stores, as well as in nine Bloomingdales locations across the United States. In addition, they are experimenting with interactive kiosks in cosmetics departments and replacing the old signature pads at 50,000 point-of-sale (POS) terminals with VeriFone devices. The company says they are trying out payment processing alternatives such as Google Wallet.

I have always been pushing for Wi-Fi in department stores, especially around the cosmetics counters, because women want to compare beauty products by looking up online reviews and comparison tests. Sites such as Beautypedia publish online reviews of skin creams and makeup, which dispute the “anti-aging” and “anti-wrinkle” claims of skin care manufacturers by citing to recent scientific findings and explaining to women why the ingredients in a particular cream do not work as advertised. This can save people a lot of money and lead them to products that are better for their skin.

In other departments such as men’s and women’s clothing, shoes and accessories, customers want to find the latest trends, how to put together outfits, and more.

I have found that while shopping in most department stores, the 3G reception inside the store is very poor and too slow to do the kind of online research I’m talking about via a smartphone or a tablet. By offering customers free Wi-Fi service, Macy’s can also alert shoppers to sales, bargains, and gift-with-purchase deals while the customer is in the store. Many people shop on a whim, so they don’t necessarily check the Macy’s website before they arrive at the mall.