The Neiman Marcus Group is in restoration mode and ready “to invest and to create new initiatives that really solidify our place in the industry.”
So mentioned Bob Kupbens, the corporate’s government vp, chief product and know-how officer, on the Fairchild Media Group Tech Forum, in a dialogue on initiatives and challenges at NMG.
“We actually feel like this is our time,” mentioned Kupbens. “We learned a lot of hard lessons, but we are coming out of this pandemic stronger, more focused as a team and really excited about the future. We are not about transactions. We are not a mass retailer. We are in a relationship business.”
To additional these relationships, earlier than the pandemic, the Dallas-based luxurious retailer rolled out Connect, a digital software for associates to personalize their communications with clients and talk the best way clients need, by means of both e-mail, telephone calls, or texting. Associates also can ship pictures depicting gadgets and outfits and arrange in-person appointments all by means of the Connect clienteling software. With Connect, “As the pandemic began we were in this excellent position. We actually accelerated our rollout timetable. All the work [between associates and customers] that would have been done in-store, we were actually able to pick it up and move into remote clienteling, remote selling. Sales associates continued to deepen their relationships and provide great service. So much about Neiman Marcus is about an emotional connection and a long-term relationship.”
There nonetheless stays “this huge opportunity to engage our customers in a really different way,” Kupbens mentioned. “We don’t have to be like others. We don’t have to be about performance marketing, traffic, or conversion. We can be about relationships and building those emotional connections with customers.”
Further serving to NMG handle was the truth that the Bergdorf Goodman e-commerce web site “did a really significant refresh before the pandemic, and an incredible job of pulling their customers through that period,” mentioned Kupbens.
“Now as individuals are coming again to shops, we’re beginning to see robust restoration in site visitors and gross sales. But our imaginative and prescient is much less about particular person transactions, and particular person areas and particular person channels. It’s actually concerning the related end-to-end expertise that spans bodily and digital channels.
“We can create new experiences that allow people to naturally move from physical to digital, to different services, different opportunities. Those kinds of journeys are going to be very difficult to replicate, but it’s the kind of thing we have envisioned happening at only Neiman Marcus.”
With applied sciences, “We don’t have to be the cutting edge of everything…So when we think of places where we should be cutting edge, it’s about personalization, truly knowing our customers and acting on that. We’ve got some great wins around data science, and [product] recommendations and deepening those. We will invest in being cutting edge, not in a gimmicky way, but in a way that truly creates value for us. That’s an important differentiation.”
Kupbens acknowledged that “there are a ton of great technologies” on the market to selected from. “AR and VR are certainly things people think about with fit, try on…We will continue to evaluate lots of different technologies and find ways to plug them in,” however they have to be to assist the buying expertise and foster relationships, he pressured.
Kupbens mentioned that omnichannel luxurious is “very difficult to execute — and it doesn’t simply occur since you acquired folks shifting on-line. “
Nevertheless, he mentioned NMG has “confirmed we are able to construct deep relationships. We have confirmed we are able to perceive our buyer. But really permitting her to navigate seamlessly between channels is a design alternative, a know-how alternative. It’s the best way we take into consideration luxurious for the longer term, but it surely doesn’t occur by chance.
“We think about ourselves as the only multibrand, true omnichannel luxury retailer. It’s like someone just won retail bingo right there, because that’s a lot of buzzwords. But we think that’s the best way to create deep emotional connections with our customers.”
Months in the past, NMG revealed plans to spend $85 million to improve its provide chain and modernize bodily services, techniques and applied sciences. “At the core, it’s way more about customer experience,” mentioned Kupbens. “It’s issues like quicker transport choices, new capabilities, offering perception into stock availability, dependable supply estimates. It’s finally a key a part of offering key companies. You will see new services, actually sophisticated materials dealing with, a complete modernization of our order processes. But the target of all of that’s unimaginable buyer expertise, enabled by the capabilities of those new techniques.
“Innovation and change are possible at scale and possible at large companies, but we have to have consistent investment, a consistent drumbeat of proof points of our strategy. We are in a really great position to lean into so many strengths we have and define what is true omnichannel luxury,” he mentioned.
In mid-June, NMG revealed its acquisition of Stylyze, a machine studying SaaS platform for advancing personalization, which has been built-in into NMG’s Connect clienteling software. NMG additionally disclosed that it intends to spend greater than $500 million over the subsequent three years in know-how and digital capabilities and partnering with greater than 25 “key” applied sciences equivalent to search and browse, product suggestions, financing, order monitoring and returns, promotions, loyalty and scores and critiques.
“We worked with the Stylyze team for three years,” mentioned Kupbens. “It’s become a core capability. It has the secret sauce that uses data science and machine learning to tag content, assemble looks that our customers are interested in shopping. We see the opportunity to use this more and more. It’s the data tagged onto the items, the looks themselves that can be placed in different digital experiences. There’s a ton of utility. In some ways, Styyuze was purposely built for Neiman Marcus because of the close partnership. We just see sales conversion increase when the customer sees an item in the context of a look, rather than just sending out individual product recommendations.” Equally necessary, Kupbens added, is the chance to deliver the Stylyze staff on board at NMG.