Virtual reality is real success for local firm

Beck Besecker, co-founder and chief executive of Marxent, a VR and AR technology company which will soon move from Kettering to Austin Landing. Marxent photo

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Beck Besecker, co-founder and chief executive of Marxent, a VR and AR technology company which will soon move from Kettering to Austin Landing. Marxent photo

Kettering-based Marxent sees its work with Macy’s Inc. not only as a valuable partnership, but as a platform for future success.

The Macy’s partnership is putting Marxent’s virtual reality technology front and center on a national stage.

Walk into one of 60-plus Macy’s stores nationwide where the Marxent technology is available, and customers can experience Marxent’s virtual reality experience, powered by the local company’s 3D Cloud and VR software.

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Beck Besecker, Marxent chief executive and founder, has called it “Minecraft for moms.” With the technology, customers can “see” how new furniture will look in a home or room, easing concerns over how new furniture fits as customers test prospective purchases.

As Macy’s describes the experience: Customers can map out the basic dimensions and shape of the room for which they are buying products. They select items they want from Macy’s furniture offerings and lay them out virtually in the room.

Customers get a feel for how it looks by virtually “stepping into” the room, using VR headsets to “walk around”, say, a coffee table, couch or other furnishings.

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We spoke with Besecker, as Dayton-area native, about what the Macy’s partnership means to the Kettering company that will be moving its headquarters to Austin Landing by mid-November.

This is an edited transcript of that interview.

Dayton Daily News: Is the partnership with Macy's the kind of deal you and your brother Barry had in mind when you started Marxent?

Besecker: "Yeah, and it's similar to all of our other relationships. I think one thing about Macy's is, one, they're just an iconic brand that everyone across the world knows about. And secondarily, they are just a great story in retail. You have folks like Sears and J.C. Penny struggling, and you have Macy's growing and doing well in the market. They're just this really great story of what traditional retail can do to sort of reinvent itself."

DDN: Is Macy's your biggest customer?

Besecker: "Macy's is very large if you think about total sales, revenue. But their furniture business is a percentage of that. If you look at it from total sales, they're up in the top two or three customers.

“We’re working now with 10 or 11 of the top 25 furniture retailers in the U.S. We’ve got several very large kitchen manufacturers as clients. We’ve expanded internationally. We’ve got a couple of large clients over there we haven’t shared yet.”

DDN: Are you getting overtures from other companies curious about your capabilities?

Besecker: "Oh, no question. There's always been a lot of interest. If you go out looking for somebody who has done 3-D room design and VR and has a meaningful business and has done it before and has had meaningful results, there aren't a whole of vendors out there. And so, we're pretty well known in the space.

“What’s significant about Macy’s is, last year was the year of really testing and validating and doing control tests and putting it in stores and trying different things, and doing exit interviews with customers.

“And what Macy’s represents is the customer (Macy’s) is saying, ‘You know what? This is no longer something we’re only thinking about. This is part of our business in perpetuity. We’re rolling this out nationwide, and we’re doing it as fast as we can.’”

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