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Macy’s Rolling Out CE Vending Machines

Macy’s will bring personal electronics vending machines to more than half of its department stores around the country. The move follows a two-year pilot program with the machines’ maker ZoomSystems.

The e-Spot “automated shops” let customers select and purchase music players, video viewer eyewear, digital cameras, camcorders, headphones and other accessories by manufacturers including Apple, Sony, Canon and MyVu.

“Personal electronics are a massive business in today’s texting, downloading, photo ‘tagging,’ YouTube-ing world,” said Chris Mizer, Macy’s customer operations senior VP. “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.”

Customers make their selection on a touchscreen interface, swipe a major credit card or Macy’s gift card, and their purchase is dispensed from the machine. 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” the vendors provide. “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,” he said.