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Macy’s Taps b8ta For In-Store Pop-Up Shops

And while it was at it, Macy's also took a minority stake in the business.

Macy’s has deepened its ties with CE retail pioneer b8ta.

Looking to energize The Market @ Macy’s, a pilot program of in-store pop-up shops, the department store chain has enlisted, and taken a minority position in, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based business.

The three-year-old retailer operates interactive showrooms in eight cities, where smaller tech vendors and start-ups can spotlight their wares through live displays.

b8ta has also begun outsourcing the concept to others, like Lowe’s, which has opened in-store smart-home shops — built, sourced, staffed and supplied by b8ta — at dozens of its home improvement centers across 13 states.

Macy’s is deploying the turnkey service with its software-driven digital displays at its 10 current The Market @ Macy’s shops in California, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington, including its flagship Herald Square store in Manhattan.

The pop-up-style shops, which first appeared in February, provide a unique, rotating selection of new and established brands spanning the tech, entertainment, apparel, beauty, gift and decorative home categories, the department store said.

Macy’s plans to leverage the b8ta platform to open additional shops, expand their CE assortments, and test new sizes and formats.

“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,” said b8ta CEO Vibhu Norby. “Our platform makes it easy for makers to deploy, manage, analyze and scale amazing offline retail experiences.”

Added Macy’s president Hal Lawton, “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.”

That’s especially true within the CE space, where Macy’s has experimented with in-store tech shops and vending machines variously fueled by J&R Music World, ZoomSystems and more recently Best Buy.

See: Best Buy Testing CE Shops In Macy’s