Trying out Macy's VR furniture shopping and AR makeup browsing. Photos: Erica Pandey/Axios

At 2.5 million square feet, the Macy's in Manhattan's Herald Square is the largest store in the U.S. But an entire city block of real estate in one of the world's busiest spots is little more than a burden if the legacy retailer can't figure out how to attract customers in the age of e-commerce.

Visiting New York, I tested some of Macy's new virtual reality, augmented reality and machine vision features.

The big picture: Although this stuff is at the cutting edge of what’s available in the U.S., it's old news in China. They are going to have to do better.

  • In the furniture department of Macy's, you can slip on Oculus headsets to picture a sofa or a dining table in your home. You can swap pieces in and out, and walk around to see how everything fits.
  • You can virtually try on hundreds of eyeliners, mascaras and lipsticks without getting your hands dirty.
  • A new feature called "Market" takes on Amazona section of the store reserved for smaller brands that have flourished online but want to get into brick-and-mortar stores.

But, but, but: All of these features and more have been commonplace in China for years.

  • JD.com has mastered unmanned store technology in China and is beginning to take the concept abroad.
  • Alibaba has long incorporated augmented and virtual reality into its brick-and-mortar outposts, including at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Shanghai.
  • One Macy's employee told me: "They're ages ahead of us."

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 31,759,233 — Total deaths: 973,904 Total recoveries: 21,811,742Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 6,939,645 — Total deaths: 201,861 — Total recoveries: 2,646,959 — Total tests: 96,616,779Map.
  3. Health: CDC director says over 90% of Americans have not yet been exposed to coronavirus — Supply shortages continue to plague testing.
  4. Politics: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson tests positive for coronavirus — Poll says 51% of Republicans trust Trump on coronavirus more than the CDC.
  5. Technology: The tech solutions of 2020 may be sapping our resolve to beat the coronavirus
  6. Vaccines: Johnson & Johnson begins large phase 3 trial — The FDA plans to toughen standards.
  7. Sports: Less travel is causing the NBA to see better basketball.

Trump refuses to commit to peaceful transfer of power if he loses

President Trump repeatedly refused to say on Wednesday whether he would commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election to Joe Biden, saying at a press briefing: "We're going to have to see what happens."

The big picture: Trump has baselessly claimed on a number of occasions that the only way he will lose the election is if it's "rigged," claiming — without evidence — that mail-in ballots will result in widespread fraud. Earlier on Wednesday, the president said he wants to quickly confirm a replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg because he believes the Supreme Court may have to decide the result of the election.

"Not enough": Protesters react to no murder charges in Breonna Taylor case

A grand jury has indicted Brett Hankison, one of the Louisville police officers who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March, on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing shots blindly into neighboring apartments.

The state of play: Angering protesters, the grand jury did not indict any of the three officers involved in the botched drug raid on homicide or manslaughter charges related to the death of Taylor.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!