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Macy’s Expands Vending Machine Program For CE

5/22/2008 02:28:00 PM Eastern

New York — Macy’s will bring e-Spot vending machines offering personal electronics to more than half of its full-line department stores around the United States. The plan comes on the heels of a two-year pilot program with the vending machines’ maker ZoomSystems.

The machines or “automated shops” as Macy’s called them, let customers select and purchase electronics from brands including Apple, Sony, Canon and MyVu via a touchscreen interface in minutes. Products featured in the machines will include MP3 players, personal media viewers, digital cameras, camcorders, headphones and other accessories.

“Personal electronics are a massive business in today’s texting, downloading, photo ‘tagging,’ YouTubing world,” said Chris Mizer, Macy’s customer operations senior VP. “And arguably more so than ever before, people’s tech taste is as much an extension of their personal style as their choice of shoe or apparel brands. As we continue to expand the Macy’s brand as the premier shopping and lifestyle destination, it became increasingly obvious that our customer was looking to us for this caliber of electronic product. They wanted one-stop, no-fuss shopping and we are responding.”

Though Macy’s is positioning the machines as ideal for “knowledgeable, decided consumers,” it said the machines provide “extensive product information and comparisons that allow customers with less certain needs to be as thorough as necessary to feel comfortable.”

To make a purchase, the customer makes and confirms the product selection on screen, swipes a major credit card or Macy’s gift card, and when the transaction is completed the product is released from the machine.

According to Macy’s, returns are acceptable by mail within 30 days in original packaging or if damaged. Customers must call a toll-free number to get a return form and ship the merchandise back for credit.

According to Mizer, customers have already expressed appreciation for the “no-pressure environment e-Spot provides.” He said “Getting product information easily without pressure, and not waiting for someone with a key to unlock a cabinet or get the product from a back room – this is the type of comfortable shopping environment that today’s technology buyer appreciates.”

For locations and information on e-Spot machines, visit macys.com/espot.