Macy's Takes Stake in B8ta, Adding to 'Experiential' Shopping

Macy's Inc. (M) has upped its tech factor.

The iconic retailer has taken a minority equity stake in retail software platform provider B8ta Inc. in an effort to boost The Market @ Macy's, a store-within-a-store concept at 10 Macy's nationwide.

Three-year-old B8ta is a software retailer that has flagship stores in U.S. cities, including New York and San Francisco, and started its business as a way to allow customers to try out new tech products without necessarily buying them. Macy's The Market, which launched in February and rotates inventory, hopes the collaboration will jump-start the concept.

"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. Macy's was the best partner for B8ta to scale our pioneering retail-as-a-service model to a breadth of categories like apparel, beauty, home, and more," B8ta CEO Vibhu Norby said in a Tuesday, June 12, statement.

"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," Macy's president Hal Lawton said in the statement.

Macy's acquired the standalone Story shop in May, a store with a rotating inventory similar to how art galleries vary their exhibits. It also hired Story founder Rachel Shechtman, whose job it is to energize the in-store experience at Macy's.

In April, B8ta launched a solution, similar to Shopify Inc. (SHOP) , called Built by B8ta, a retail-as-a-service platform for brands wanting a physical presence by helping them build flagship stores.

Macy's shares on Wednesday afternoon were down 2.8% to $38.84.

The company did not immediately return a request for comment.

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