TECHNOLOGY

Luxury department store retailer co-develops merchandise buying app

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Neiman Marcus is digitizing its inventory sourcing process through a mobile solution it co-created.

The luxury department store retailer teamed up with the digital wholesale marketplace, Joor, to co-develop a mobile, iPad-specific app designed to support retail buyers transacting on the wholesale platform. The solution digitizes all buying processes, which helps retailers reduce labor and errors.

The buying process is typically very manual, paper-driven, time-consuming, and sometimes error-prone due to reliance on disparate systems. In addition to providing disjointed views of brands’ collections, disparate systems also limit buyers’ abilities to plan assortments efficiently across many brands, and lack visibility into what others across their retail organization are purchasing.

The new mobile platform centralizes data, creating a digital hub. Now buyers can view all of their brands’ complete collections; create merchandised looks, plan assortments, and purchase merchandise. A budget tracker tool provides a unified view of all planned purchases, and delivers real-time insights on where a buyer stands versus their budget. Members across the buying team can also communicate in-app, a move that helps create more synergistic purchases across departments and locations.

Since using the app, Neiman Marcus’ retail buyers reported a 40% increase in productivity, and 30% reduction in appointment times, according to the company.

“Collaborating with Joor to modernize the team’s approach to market aligns with Neiman Marcus’ long-standing tradition of innovation and retail leadership,” stated Nathan Johnson, senior VP, merchandise planning, Neiman Marcus Group.

“We see Joor as an important tool to reduce friction in the purchase order process, freeing up merchant time to focus on driving assortment differentiation,” he added. “When this increased efficiency is coupled with improved real-time visibility into buying decisions, we believe there is tremendous potential to not only improve sales and margins, but more importantly, to improve the customer experience.”

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Sears’ new loyalty partner ‘drives’ savings on gasoline

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Sears is looking to help members of its loyalty program save money at the gas pump.

The department store retailer is partnering with GasBuddy, a smartphone app that uses crowdsourcing to help drivers find the best gas prices and closest stations, among other amenities. Together, the partners are launching a program that will offer Shop Your Way loyalty members discounts at the pump.

The program is accepted at “hundreds of thousands” of stations nationwide, according to Sears. Other partners in the Shop Your Way portfolio include Uber, Meredith Corp. (the former Time Inc./Synapse), and fuboTV.

Here’s how the new gas program works: Shop Your Way members link their account with GasBuddy on the Shop Your Way website, then add a checking account to the Pay with GasBuddy app.

Customers will receive a loyalty card in the mail that must be activated in the GasBuddy app. Members swipe the card at the gas pump during each visit to earn Cashback points. They receive $0.30 per gallon in points for paid fill-ups for first 60 days after pairing account with Shop Your Way. They earn $0.15/gallon in points for every paid fill-up thereafter.

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Amazon partners with French supermarket giant on grocery delivery

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A new partnership is giving Amazon a foothold into the grocery segment in France.

Amazon will sell groceries sourced by Monoprix on its Prime Now app. The program is available to customers in Paris and its suburbs this year. The online retailer did not share when the program would launch.

Prime members can choose from “thousands of grocery items” sourced from Monoprix, including fresh products, exclusive items, as well as merchandise across store brands including Monoprix, Monoprix Gourmet, Monoprix Bio, and La Beauté Monoprix, according to Amazon.

Once Prime members place an order through the app, Monoprix will pick the order in store, and Amazon will deliver it.

“This commercial partnership, which further enlarges Prime Now service selection, will enable Amazon Prime customers to benefit from ultra-fast deliveries for their Monoprix orders,” said Frédéric Duval, country manager, Amazon France.

The partnership benefits the grocer, as well. “Monoprix further differentiates and increases its unique position as an urban omnichannel leader,” said Régis Schultz, the company’s chairman. “Monoprix will benefit from the most comprehensive grocery delivery service in Paris.

During a conference call, Schultz added that a future expansion to other parts of France is a possibility, according to Reuters.

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