Furniture customers can use virtual reality (VR)

The Macy’s department store chain has added its Westfield Broward Mall location in Florida to its lineup of stores where furniture customers can use virtual reality to envision how various pieces would look in their living spaces.

The addition continues what Macy’s in October called the “largest virtual reality roll-out in retail history” as it introduced the feature to about 70 of its stores, including Macy’s Furniture Gallery stores in Pembroke Pines, Fort Lauderdale and South Dade, as well as department stores in Aventura, Miami and Dadeland.

Additional stores to get the sales feature are at The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens and The Mall at Wellington Green in Wellington.

Using an in-store tablet, consumers design their living spaces by mapping out the basic dimensions and shapes of their rooms, then select items from Macy’s furniture inventory and lay them out virtually throughout the room.

“Customers can refine the design as needed until they find what works best for them and finally test it out virtually by stepping into the room, using VR headsets to get a true-to-life experience that allows them to walk around the coffee table, couch and other furnishings,” a Macy’s spokeswoman said by email Monday.

Macy’s developed the platform with Marxent Labs, a 3D design and visualization developer based in St. Petersburg.

In three pilot stores last year, the chain increased furniture sales 60 percent using the virtual reality feature, the company said in an October news release. Returns were decreased to less than 2 percent.

Another advantage of the technology is it allows Macy’s to offer more furniture choices within smaller showroom spaces, the release said.

By introducing what might be more accurately described as augmented [overlaying virtual onto the real world] reality, Macy’s joins fellow furniture retailers including IKEA and Wayfair.

Shoppers needn’t go to Macy’s brick-and-mortar stores to use the feature. Consumers can build their own virtual rooms with Macy’s furniture by downloading an app to their device or entering the store’s designer page from their desktop computers. Both can be found at

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