March 1, 2012, 2:02 PM

Neiman Marcus connects customers and associates with a SoLoMo app

A Neiman Marcus shopper will be able to see, upon entering a store, if her favorite associate is around.

Bill Siwicki

Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce

Lead Photo

The Neiman Marcus Group Inc. is pioneering in what has come to be known as SoLoMo—social, local and mobile. It is testing a new iPhone app that enables customers to interact directly with sales associates in stores. The new app, NM Service, is being tested in stores in Austin, TX; Dallas; San Francisco and Palo Alto, CA.

Customers and sales associates have different interfaces in the app. Each is designed to heighten and enhance social interaction wherever a customer may be in a store, the retailer says. Neiman Marcus, No. 93 in the Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce Top 300, used development firm Signature to create the app.

In-store location sensors are installed at key entry points throughout a store. If a customer with the app loaded on her smartphone passes within range, the sensor automatically prompts NM Service to act. Once the app is engaged, the customer is alerted to which of her preferred sales associates are currently in the store, as well as upcoming store events, new product arrivals and sales, and emerging fashion trends.

In addition to denoting favorite sales associates, a customer can mark favorite products, which will automatically be visible to the customer’s preferred store employees. The app allows a customer to make appointments or leave messages for associates. In addition, she can scan QR codes on signs throughout the store to see trends and product information on her smartphone.

NM Service allows associates to better serve customer needs, Neiman Marcus says. The app provides associates with access to informative details, such as a customer’s Neiman Marcus store and NeimanMarcus.com purchase history, and access to a customer’s new favorite items. Notifications automatically alert sales employees when their customers arrive in a store and provide a Facebook photograph so the customer can be easily recognized.

“For more than 100 years at Neiman Marcus, our belief in the importance of providing exemplary customer service has been a core corporate value,” says Jim Gold, president, specialty retail, at The Neiman Marcus Group, No. 39 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. “The NM Service app allows us to take our service philosophy into the digital era. We look forward to using this technology to make our client-sales associate relationship even stronger, and further enhance the Neiman Marcus shopping experience.”

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