February’s Fortune piece on retailer Nieman-Marcus might help show the way forward for a retail industry struggling to find the balance between traditional retailing and e-commerce. In its new 106K SF store on Long Island set to open this weekend, Nieman’s luxury brand will pit its decades of experience against today’s demand for interactivity in every customer channel.
Aside from the somewhat reduced footprint for the new Nieman’s, there are two very interesting aspects to the opening from where I’m sitting: a new verb “clienteling” and a very cool-sounding new technology called memory mirrors.
So, the Neiman in Garden City, Long Island, the retailer’s first new department store since 2012, is pulling out all the stops. At 106,000 square feet, the two-level emporium is smaller than the average Neiman. But the location features a ton of natural light (something Neiman admits some of its stores lack), 37 works by local artists, and prominent tech.
In addition to mainstays like WiFi and iPhone-equipped sales staff (that are used for “clienteling,” like texting a photo of a new item the salesperson thinks might be of interest, the modern day version of the little black book), the Neiman store will have phone charging stations and memory mirrors by MemoMi. Such mirrors can capture an image and video of everything a customer tries on so she can see outfits side by side and ask friends off site for their opinions.
The 2,100-panel façade of the store, part of a new luxury wing built by Simon that also showcases a Tory Burch boutique, is meant to evoke the butterflies Neiman often uses in its imagery. The store will feature boutiques for brands like Tom Ford and Céline.
Neiman knows its stores have to be more special than ever to cut it with shoppers. After all, there is a Nordstrom and a Bloomingdale’s (a unit of Macy’s M 1.39% ) at Roosevelt Field for shoppers who want high end if not quite luxury. (Neiman finished a massive renovation of its Michigan Avenue store in Chicago last year and is doing the same at its stores in Palo Alto, Dallas, and Beverly Hills.)
Check out the entire Phil Wahba article in Fortune here.