From Luxury Daily:
Department store chain Neiman Marcus is launching interactive retail tables that will allow consumers to browse inventory using touchscreen technology in three select stores.
The tables are currently active in the Austin, TX, Chicago, and Topanga, CA locations of the department store, where they can be found in the luxury shoe salons. They will assist consumers in browsing inventory that may not be available in-store but can be accessed online or at other Neiman Marcus locations.
“We know that our customers want access to our full assortments whenever possible,” said Ginger Reeder, vice president of corporate communications at Neiman Marcus Group Services, Dallas. “The interactive table marries form to function and allows the customer and associates ease of access to product.”
Neiman Marcus worked with touchscreen technology producer T1Visions to create the tables. T1Visions partners with retail, events and exhibits, corporate, hospitality and education markets around the globe to provide multitouch, multiuser software in public environments.
The interactive retail tables are custom designed to complement the Neiman Marcus brand identity and the store’s visual aesthetic. Each table measures approximately 70 inches long, 34 inches tall, and 26 inches wide, features a 32-inch Ultra HD 4K touchscreen and is covered by continuous pane of customized glass.
The product is designed to be sophisticated and useful. The look is seamless and unobtrusive, highlighting T1Visions’ state of the art technology.
Consumers can use the tables to browse and search Neiman Marcus inventory, including items that are in-store, online or available at another store location. They can also add items to a Wishlist, which will be emailed to them.
The interactive tables use T1Visions’ software application OneShop to provide consumers with easy and extensive access to all of the department store’s merchandise. The software will recommend products based on a consumer’s search results and can also be used to share the latest trends with shoppers.
“Creating a way for the customers to flow effortlessly between the store experience and their online or mobile experience is a cornerstone of any retailer’s omnichannel strategy,” said Dave Rodgerson, a retail business development executive at Microsoft Canada, Toronto.
“In this spirit, the consumer experience in store, on the table, at home on their desktop, through their smart phone or tablet would all complement one another with a consistent look, feel and navigation,” he said.
Neiman Marcus hopes to expand the tables to other locations and is planning additional software updates that will be released early this year. Ideally, consumers will eventually be able to use the tables to purchase items, allowing them to function as additional points of sale in the store.
Shoes displayed on interactive retail table
Online and in real life
Experts agree that it is essential for retailers to incorporate the online experience into their stores. Even as more consumers are shopping online, the in-store experience is still at the heart of retail, and luxury retailers need to find ways to bridge the gap between channels, according to panelists at The New York Times Luxury Conference.
The panelists agreed that the retail is still centered on the consumer, and allowing her to shop with them how they want, which often still involves the physical store. Ecommerce and other digital efforts therefore serve more to supplement an in-store experience, rather than replace it entirely (see story).
his is not the first time Neiman Marcus has worked to blend in-store shopping with the online experience. The department store chain recently updated its mobile application to provide a quick and easy shopping option for consumers through a new “Snap. Find. Shop.” feature.
Neiman Marcus paired with mobile visual search firm Slyce to create a shopping feature that allows consumers to snap a photo of an item they like and have the app find a similar item sold by the retailer. Snap. Find. Shop. will likely appeal to the younger, more tech-savvy consumer who is interested in finding the latest trends and styles (see story).
The interactive retail tables are the next step for Neiman Marcus in using the latest technology to improve its consumers’ experience.
“Neiman Marcus has implemented the table as a way to offer their consumers what the industry calls ‘an endless aisle’. It’s a tried and true means of linking the physical store to the consumer’s online experience,” Mr. Rodgerson said.
“It’s great to see a well-respected brand like Neiman Marcus deploying this new technology in the store as long as it’s part of an overall omnichannel strategy,” he said. “If not, this will become a very expensive piece of furniture with a display screen integrated into the tabletop.”