Macy's Reopens with Touch Screens

By 8:30 a.m. this morning, about 100 people had already formed a line outside Macy's at Water Tower Place. That's because today is the official reopening party of the newly renovated space, and the first bunch of people to enter at 9 a.m. were promised a $10 gift card.

We stopped in for a pre-opening tour, during which Mike Dervos, the regional director for Macy's stores, told reporters that the renovation had been a "labor of love." Dervos said this was one of only four national locations to receive major renovations this year. He added that though it had been a "labor of love" for himself, it had been "pure labor" for the Water Tower Place location employees, who have been working around the clock for the last few months to keep the store open through the remodel.

One of the most striking changes is more conceptual than the bright new paint job: It has to do with the way Macy's interacts with customers. To introduce the topic, Dervos cited Estee Lauder's groundbreaking decision 60 years ago to incorporate touch into cosmetic sales.

The new iteration of that includes, appropriately, the iTouch, and other technologies that have been incorporated in various ways. For instance at the Clinique counter, shoppers can scroll through a screenful of options and save info as an email if they don't have time to buy right then. And throughout the store, displays are more interactive, encouraging the customer to move through the space more freely, and physically touch the merchandise.

A concrete highlight we were paritcularly happy to see is the hugely expanded mezzanine, which according to Dervos boasts an additional 1,800 square feet for the purse department. New offerings there include the Impulse collection featuring Olivia + Joy, BCBG Generation, and Steve Madden, as well as expanded offerings by the likes of Coach and Michael Kors.

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