How Neiman Marcus innovates to adapt

Neiman Marcus has learned a thing or two in its 109-year history — and one thing remains constant: It must anticipate future customer needs to stay on the cutting edge of retail. As head of the retailer’s innovation lab, Scott Emmons does just that every day, choosing the type of technology and systems necessary to cater to customers in years to come.

On this episode of Retail Gets Real, Emmons discusses how Neiman Marcus does it while staying true to its origins.

Emmons focuses on two things when approaching retail innovation: Does the new technology or idea solve a problem for the customer, and how does it enhance the customer relationship? “It is a balancing act, because we've always emphasized the human relationship part of our business,” Emmons says. “I think we have the capabilities to cater to a customer who wants a more traditional experience and still offer modern amenities and modern digital experiences when they're shopping with Neiman Marcus.”

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The Neiman Marcus iLab successfully introduced the “memory mirror,” a digital mirror that can record a customer from different angles in the fitting room. The customer can then compare multiple outfits side-by-side or even solicit advice from friends on social media. The experiment was so well received that Neiman Marcus is working to expand the platform’s technology. A newer development is the memory makeover mirror, which allows a store’s beauty specialists to record makeup sessions with customers and then share a video tutorial so they can create the look at home.

Listen to the full episode to hear Emmons’ tips on how retailers can begin powering innovation efforts in their organizations and what he believes retail will look like in the future.

For a look back at what Karen Katz, former president and CEO of The Neiman Marcus Group, said about innovation and putting digital first, check out this past episode of Retail Gets Real.

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