Macy’s has partnered with b8ta, the retail-as-a-service startup that originally started as a way to let people try out new tech products. Macy’s has acquired a minority stake in b8ta and will use the startup to enhance The Market, an experiential-based retail concept at Macy’s. By partnering with b8ta, Macy’s envisions being able to scale its Market concept faster, Macy’s president Hal Lawton said in a statement. For b8ta, this is an additional source of revenue.
“At b8ta, we believe physical retail will thrive as a platform for discovering new products and brands,” b8ta CEO Vibhu Norby said in a statement. “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. 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. Our platform makes it easy for makers to deploy, manage, analyze, and scale amazing offline retail experiences.”
Earlier this year, b8ta unveiled a Shopify-like solution for retail stores. Called “Built by b8ta,” the solution functions as a retail-as-a-service platform for brands that want a physical presence. b8ta’s software solution includes checkout, inventory, point of sale, inventory management, staff scheduling services and more. Netgear was the first customer to launch a Built by b8ta store this June in Silicon Valley’s Santana Row, and b8ta has plans to deploy additional stores for other brands in that area.
In April, Norby told me there were a handful of other brands that b8ta would announce soon. This year, b8ta expects anywhere from 10 to 15 companies to launch stores built by b8ta across cosmetics, apparel and furniture. It seems that Macy’s was one of those companies.
b8ta initially launched as a store that showcased products like the Gi Flybike, a folding electric bicycle, and Thync, a wearable for achieving mindfulness and boosting energy, into physical stores to enable customers to have real, tactile experiences with them.