Will in-store clienteling aid Neiman Marcus’ digital push?
As a driver of its just-announced digital first strategy, Neiman Marcus is counting on in-store associates, armed with sophisticated data-grabbing tools, to link offline to online worlds.
On its fourth-quarter conference call earlier this month, CEO Karen Katz told analysts the luxury retailer continues to invest in software tools to “deepen engagement” and “help our associates drive sales outside the four walls of the store.”
A major focus is continued investments is Isell, a proprietary digital clientele management tool first rolled out five years ago that allows sales associates to use an app on a company-issued iPhone to retrieve customer data and “tap into customer preferences.”
To further personalization, custom software is being developed that enables selling associates to send personalized outfit suggestions to customers via text message, which Ms. Katz described as “already a key driver of transactions.” The suggestions are based on past purchases, customer browsing history on the company’s websites, social feeds and/or inquiries.
The clienteling tool is guiding the company’s first platform under the digital first strategy that focuses on digital luxury services. Two other platforms involve upgrading Neiman’s e-commerce sites and increasing its selection of exclusive merchandise.
“Overall the driving force behind our digital first strategy is our ability to leverage data and analysis to garner more insights to customer preferences and behaviors,” said Ms. Katz on the call. “From there, we intend to deepen the customer engagement by delivering an unmatched experience that includes a differentiated product assortment, personalized offerings based on individual preferences and styles, and unparalleled customer service.”
In a column that appeared earlier this year in Women’s Wear Daily, Stephan Schambach, founder and CEO of NewStore, wrote that the risks of associates using smartphones for personal reasons is far outweighed by the benefits of a data-enriched, in-store experience.
“Customers are expecting and demanding a higher level of tailored service,” Mr. Schambach wrote. “The apps and the data are there, simply waiting to be used for that purpose.”
- Neiman Marcus Group LTD LLC Q4 2017 Earnings Conference Call – Neiman Marcus
- Neiman Marcus Group Ltd Llc Reports Fourth Quarter And Fiscal Year 2017 Results – Neiman Marcus
- Think Tank: Why Are Retailers Still Debating Store Associate Devices? – Women’s Wear Daily
- Neiman Marcus stores can see what customers are buying online – New York Post
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see data-supported in-store associates helping stores bridge the gap between offline and online experiences? What’s holding back the use of devices to help store associates offer personalized suggestions to customers?