Dallas—Looking to position itself versus a potential luxury online behemoth like Amazon, Neiman Marcus Group said Thursday it plans to invest $100 million to expand its “omni-channel” presence in digital retailing.
According to its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Neiman Marcus hopes to create a seamless customer experience across its stores, websites, apps etc. The project is estimated to begin in 2014 and is targeted for completion in 2016.
News of the digital investment comes on the heels of a $6 billion bid by The Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board and Ares Management LLC, a private equity firm, to buy Neiman Marcus.
Earlier this month, Neiman Marcus instituting free standard shipping and returns for all domestic purchases made at NeimanMarcus.com and Bergdorf Goodman.com as well as Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman stores.
Speaking to a Texas A&M Retailing Summit in Dallas, Jim Gold, the retailer’s president of specialty retail, said using technology to enhance the modern shopping experience is what it is all about these days.
“The technology is there,” Gold said. “The question is how do we use it without spooking customers?”
The retailer is also developing a new mobile app that would allow customers to interact “in a powerful way.”
Gold said while most of the merchandise available online is in its stores, too, the company plans to expand its availability with a new ship-to-store option.
Neiman Marcus also armed every sales associate with a smartphone loaded with apps to help them stay in touch with customers about alterations, merchandise delivery and new merchandise. In addition, iPads are being used in selected departments in all stores to give customers access to online inventory as well as what is currently available in store.