Will Neiman Marcus’ customers snap, find and shop?

Discussion
Dec 10, 2014

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.

Neiman Marcus is bridging the digital and brick-and-mortar worlds with “Snap. Find. Shop,” a 3-D search and purchase tool that allows consumers to snap images of fashion items and receive similar products available on the Neiman Marcus e-commerce site. The feature uses technology from visual search firm Slyce.

Reportedly the first luxury retailer to implement visual search technology, Neiman Marcus allows users to search products using real-life items and printed images without defining categories or refining searches. Once photos are captured, consumers can shop recommended products and complete purchases within the app.

Neiman Marcus sought to create a more connected shopping experience as its online and mobile businesses continue to grow. Last year, the retailer’s online business surpassed the $1 billion mark, and more consumers are using their phones and tablets to shop, according to Wanda Gierhart, CMO of Neiman Marcus Group. “We also know that 70 percent of our customers conduct research online before they ever come into a store to shop.”

Of all benefits, the core value of Snap. Find. Shop. is that it “provides the immediate gratification our customer desires,” Ms. Gierhart said. “With the growth of mobile use in the shopping process, this cuts down having to type a physical search.”

Currently available within the shoe and handbag departments, Snap. Find. Shop. will expand to new categories in the near future.

“We only have anecdotal feedback at this point from our customers, which has been very positive,” Ms. Gierhart said. “There are not any categories we sell that this could not be expanded into. We will evaluate the usage and determine where to go next.”

Although Snap. Find. Shop is still relatively new, Ms. Gierhart noted that the Neiman Marcus team will continue to educate consumers about the tool and its value leveraging a variety of different marketing techniques.

Initially, Neiman Marcus was developing solutions to address consumers’ need for instant mobile gratification internally. The retailer partnered with Slyce after a representative from the Neiman Marcus Innovation Lab met with a representative at a conference.

“We spent about nine months testing the technology,” Ms. Gierhart explained. “Slyce developed a demo for us that all of our senior executives tried out.”

How do you rate the consumer appeal of the Snap. Find. Shop. app? Does the technology lend itself to other categories beyond luxury fashion?

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8 Comments on "Will Neiman Marcus’ customers snap, find and shop?"


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Don Uselmann
Guest
Don Uselmann
6 years 6 months ago

If Snap works as proclaimed it will become a great tool for customers and sales associates alike, especially when a specific item may be out of stock or unavailable. Other applications may be for price sensitive customers: Love that Birkin Bag but can’t afford it? Here are six others that look like it. Or love that bag but it’s missing some specific features? Here are some look-a-likes with other features. I think the next step is when RFID becomes the norm—snap a picture of someone on the street, find out what they’re wearing and where you can purchase it …

Zel Bianco
Guest
6 years 6 months ago

I understand how this can be a fun app and a way to generate some press about Neiman Marcus but I don’t see it being used very often for luxury fashion. Its most practical use would be when a customer sees an item that is almost what they want but not quite right—they could hope to find what they are looking for online and this would keep them within the store, as opposed to searching the brand name and trying to find it through Google. I don’t anticipate people being interested in reading online reviews of a fashion item that is right in front of them. However, if this was implemented in an electronics store (such as Best Buy) or a store like Ikea (where consumers want to know how easy a piece is to assemble and how well it lasts) it would be much more useful to customers.

Cathy Hotka
Guest
6 years 6 months ago

Finally!

This could be a huge tool for magazine readers, who see items they like in Vogue or Elle but don’t know where to find them. Snap could open up a huge new audience among fashionistas who don’t have a Neiman’s near them.

Big idea, big potential payoff.

Joan Treistman
Guest
6 years 6 months ago

Most importantly the Neiman Marcus team tested the app. Therefore we know it does what they intend it to do. The remaining questions are how well it satisfies customers and what modifications if any can be made to enhance desire and use.

For me the operative phrase is “similar products.” My initial reaction is that it may be a step down process in that a customer sees what they want, NM showcases similar products and they don’t live up to expectations established by the original product. Maybe I’m relating this too much to the “you may also like” or “other customers also viewed” connections in my shopping experiences.

I’m encouraged that NM received positive anecdotal feedback. Undoubtedly if there were serious drawbacks they would rise to the surface of shopper comments. That’s always the case in qualitative reporting.

As for other categories where this tool could be especially attractive, I submit furniture and luggage as examples.

Ed Dunn
Guest
6 years 6 months ago

I think it would be better to have real people photo tag the items in the picture in a crowd-sourcing manner rather than automated technology that may or may not recognize the object.

Having people do the tagging would encourage social iteration among like-minded people and allow third-party brand reinforcement which translates into peer recommendations.

Lee Kent
Guest
6 years 6 months ago

If it works as expected, kudos to Neiman Marcus! This is a great app on oh-so-many levels.

For many of us, women of a certain age, who are on the lookout for others with similar body types and styles that work with them. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people on the street sporting styles that just might work for me. If I could snap and shop? Wow!

This is worth well beyond my two cents!

Jerry Gelsomino
Guest
6 years 6 months ago

There are several mobile apps/online retailers that offer similar services. Neiman Marcus is the first luxury or recognized retailer to try this. Considering their expansive selection, this might work very well for them.

Sharon Mills
Guest
Sharon Mills
6 years 6 months ago

This is a brilliant, innovative next step in the evolution of click and collect. There are endless possibilities for the use of this technology. Kudos to Neiman’s for getting there first.

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