Investments in both mobile and e-commerce have paid off in the form of double-digit year-over-year online sales growth for luxury retailer Neiman Marcus.
The retailer reports online sales of $264.3 million in the first quarter of its 2015 fiscal year ended Nov. 1, up 10.2% from $239.8 million during the same period last year, and accounting for 22.3% of the company’s net revenues for Q1 2015. Neiman Marcus is No. 41 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.
“We’re very pleased with the ongoing strong growth we are achieving online,” president and CEO Karen Katz said on a conference call with investment analysts. “On our Neiman Marcus site, top-selling categories for the quarter included beauty, men’s, fine apparel and shoes.”
Neiman Marcus said in its 10Q filing it believes its customers have allocated a higher portion of their luxury spending to online retailing in recent years and our customers’ expectations of a seamless shopping experience across our in-store and online channels have increased, and we expect these trends to continue for the foreseeable future.”
With that in mind, Katz says the retailer launched a redesigned e-commerce site in the first quarter based on responsive design, a technique that tailors the look of the web site to the device a consumer is using, such as a smartphone, tablet or PC.
The company also rolled out an app during the first quarter for its 5,000 sales associates, all of whom have their own iPhones provided by the company aimed at improving customer service in stores. “The business dashboard (in the app) shows a sales associate a customer’s purchase history across channels, the customer’s alterations and other service details,” Katz says. “As importantly, the associate is given product recommendations plus reasons to contact the customer for events or offers. In future releases, there will be a direct app-to-app interface between associates and those customers who have downloaded our Neiman Marcus app on their mobile devices.”
Neiman Marcus already has a consumer-facing mobile app, and the company added a new Snap, Find, Shop feature to that app in October. The feature allows customers to take a picture of a shoe or handbag that they like and instantly get recommendations of similar products.
Katz gave an example of how that new feature is paying dividends. “Recently a customer was in one of our stores and admired a pair of boots worn by the sales associate,” she says. “The associate snapped a quick selfie of her boots using the Snap, Find, Shop feature and showed the customer the results of the find, the exact boots and two similar pairs. The customer, delighted and impressed with the technology, bought two pairs of boots on the spot.”
Katz also highlighted a new feature called MyNM that provides more personalized product recommendations the more a customer shops NeimanMarcus.com. “For example, a customer can select favorites or see items new to the site since her last visit or request to be informed of new merchandiser events at a local Neiman Marcus store,” Katz says.
She said the company also is proving more ways for customers to pick up and receive their online purchases. “In addition to buy online, pick up in-store and buy online ship from store, we’re now offering buy online, same-day delivery from all stores,” Katz says. “In addition, buy online, ship to store for pickup, is also available.”
For the quarter ending Nov. 1, 2014, Neiman Marcus reported:
- Net revenues of $1.186 billion, up 5.1% from $1.129 billion during the same period last year.
- Comparable revenues of $1.181 billion, up 5.4% from $1.120 billion during Q1 2014.
- Cost of goods sold accounted for 61.4% of revenue, up slightly from 60.7% during the same period last year.