Happy (almost) Fall and welcome to this week’s edition of 5 for Friday.

Running the gamut from mixed reality to some rather interesting developments in the world of social media, below you’ll find this week’s selection of hand-picked headlines.

Mixed Reality Pays Off as Macy’s Announces Plans to Expand Pilot

Intended to simplify product discovery and enable better buying decisions among beauty brand shoppers, Macy’s has unveiled a new experiential platform that combines virtual (VR) and augmented (AR) reality.

No strangers to the world of tech-based storyselling, the retail giant had previously tested the waters with a solution aimed at furniture shoppers. Powered by systems developed by Marxent, that program (dubbed “VR for Furniture”) in expected to be live in 69 Macy’s stores by early November. In stores where it’s already being piloted, a 60% increase in sales has been reported.

According to Macy’s president, Hal Lawton, the latest round of in-store enhancements are “practical applications that will engage our customers,” and give them the “best shopping experience possible.”

Instagram Sets Sights on Shopping

Instagram’s “Shopping in Stories” is now available to all users and business partners around the world.

In testing since June, the feature leverages one of the platform’s most popular services: more than 400 million users access at least one Story on a daily basis.

Instagram is also adding a “Shopping” channel to “Explore.” Aimed at satisfying the individual tastes of its community, content will focus on the brands they already follow, along with some suggestions.

Marking another milestone, Instagram recently surpassed 1 billion monthly active users, and expected to surpass 2 billion by 2023.

New Facebook Report Examines Shopping Behaviors of Connected Consumers

Working with Accenture, Facebook recently published the results of a study that examined the buying habits and behaviors of the modern customer.

Based on data collected from nearly 1,600 adult shoppers in the U.S., they looked at trends across a broad range of sectors, including “Media & Entertainment,” “Apparel & Accessories,” “Household Staples and Health,” and “Household & Personal Care”

Seeking to highlight the role “Facebook’s Family of Apps” (FFAS) play in the journey (as well as opportunities for advertisers), their findings showcase a number of relevant insights, even beyond Facebook, that brands should consider.

“With the exception of Media & Entertainment shoppers,” they claim, “in-store is still the most common way consumers are purchasing products across the categories surveyed. That said, 46% of Household Staples shoppers say that online is the most common way they buy new products. And 26% of Media & Entertainment shoppers, 19% of Household Staples and 18% of Apparel & Accessories shoppers say on mobile is the most common way they buy.”

Shopify Adds AR Quick Look to Evolving Features Set

AR Quick Look, an iOS 12 feature that builds augmented reality support into Apple’s Safari browser, has been added to Shopify’s toolkit.

The addition, says TechCrunch, will enable the 600,000+ online stores that run on the platform to offer their customers augmented reality views of products without the fuss of additional downloads.

The usefulness of this functionality will vary between retailers and customers: shops with a higher proportion of desktop or Chrome visitors may not see the same benefits since these browsers don’t currently support it.

Pinterest Hopes to Play Matchmaker for Influencers and Brands

Pinterest is opening its platform to brands and influencers, offering both more reasons to partner up on the platform.

By making its content marketing API available to third-party influencer marketing channels, brands, says Pinterest, can expect “more visibility into various stats like monthly views, followers, impressions, click-throughs and saves,” while influencers “should now have an easier time connecting with would-be brand partners.”

Their news comes in the wake of increased pressure from competitors like Instagram and YouTube, and with 92% of marketers that partnered with influencers defining their experiences as effective, seems to be a step in the right direction.

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