January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

Upscale Retailer Zooms Online

Don Davis

Editor in Chief

Neiman Marcus has introduced its website, neimanmarcus.com, offering men's, women's and children's designer apparel and accessories, home furnishings and holiday gifts. The site offers 24-hour instantaneous customer assistance via real-time online chat, "fractal zoom" for up-close looks at details, and 360-degree product views. The Dallas-based retailer says the new site will feature more than 500 items for sale from both Neiman Marcus stores and Neiman Marcus by Mail, with new product added each month.
     Special features include the NM Virtual Studio. If a particular item is not currently available online, it says, customers can contact an e-Service Personal Shopper via e-mail with their requests. The Personal Shopper will locate the merchandise and make arrangements to provide a closer look in the NM Virtual Studio. The apparel, placed on a display, is digitally photographed and posted to a unique Web site for two weeks. Once it is posted, the customer can view the item in close detail. The Personal Shopper can then assist with the purchase, answer additional questions or make suggestions.
     Neiman Marcus' bridal registry is also available online at the site in partnership with Della and James. Brides or grooms can create their own wedding pages, review their gift registries and read tips from in-house experts, the company says. The website also includes content, it says, such as features on Giorgio Armani, Donna Karan and Ermenegildo Zegna, NM "Must Haves" with 360-degree product views, trend information and online events such as the unveiling of the 1999 Neiman Marcus Christmas Book.
     Neiman Marcus has already launched an Internet marketing campaign to promote the site. It will use both online and offline advertising, as well as offline sponsorships and partnerships with sites that reach the retailer's target audience. The campaign also includes e-mail announcements inviting existing customers to browse the new site, it adds.

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