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Neiman Marcus drives in-store traffic via nationwide music efforts

September 23, 2013


Neiman Marcus is introducing fashion and music-inspired activities Sept. 26-29 into its CUSP departments across the United States to boost and maintain the in-store presence of younger consumers.

The CUSP event revolves around the musicians ZZ Ward, Natalie Bergman of Wild Belle and Noelle Scaggs of Fitz and The Tantrums, who will each star in individual promotional campaigns for CUSP products. To increase nationwide participation, the brand is teaming up with Vogue to encourage fans to enter an Instagram sweepstakes for a chance to win a $2,500 Neiman Marcus gift card.

"Neiman Marcus, like many high-profile brands, taken the leap into social media to claim a relationship with a younger audience," said Dave Rodgerson, a Toronto-based, retail analyst and consultant.

"They have certainly associated the campaign with an event that will appeal to that target market and the fashion context of the contest is a great complement," he said.

"Both Instagram and Pinterest are useful ways to collect and share visual content from an audience participating in a contest. Recent developments in Web analytics will make it possible to include content from sites that are image-centric as well as text-based Web sites like Twitter."

Mr. Rodgerson is not affiliated with Neiman Marcus, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Neiman Marcus was unable to comment directly.

The start of something

Prior to the in-store events, ZZ Ward and Wild Belle will perform Sept. 25 at Neiman Marcus' Coral Gables, Miami and North Park, Dallas stores.

Photographer Peggy Sirota has teamed up with the retailer to create an advertising campaign inspired by the idiosyncrasies and musical style of each performer.

Ms. Bergman in Haute Hippie

The campaign features the musicians wearing looks from fashion designers such as Vince, Rag & Bone, Alexander Wang and Robert Rodriguez.

ZZ Ward in Helmut Lang

Campaign images will appear in the October issues of Neiman Marcus' book, Vogue magazine and regional newspaper advertising.

The new CUSP  digital magazine and Neiman Marcus' blog will feature style tips, Q&A's and other related content.

When the nationwide event begins, CUSP departments will host fashion and music-inspired activities and offer incentives such as a "rocker-chic" necklace with any regular-priced $300 purchase.

Guest bloggers and stylists will appear at certain stores to provide suggestions. DJs, informal modeling and fashion presentations will further engage consumers.

Ms. Scaggs in Joie

In tandem with Vogue, Neiman Marcus will host an Instagram sweepstakes that asks fans to upload photos of their favorite "rocker chic" outfits for a chance to win a $2500 gift card and additional gifts from Vogue.

Neiman Marcus plans to turn the CUSP events into an annual affair.

Sensory engagement

Although omnichannel efforts have gained substantial attention, increasing in-store traffic still remains a pressing issue in the retail world. Other retailers devise themed events to drive in-store traffic among certain demographics.

Saks Fifth Avenue is boosting foot traffic to its New York flagship’s redesigned fragrance floor through a series of fragrance-themed events intended to draw aspirational consumers.

For instance, the fragrance floor’s redesign is set to open on Sept. 26 amid various events and giveaways that celebrate the occasion. Renovating a space can enliven a retailer’s identity while accompanying events can maximize exposure for the new area (see story).

Also, department store chain Nordstrom is contemplating putting iPads in dressing rooms to elevate its customer experience and allow it to be more accessible to digital-savvy customers.

The iPads would allow customers to easily look up information to see if products are available in another size, color, department or store. Although other retailers make use of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices in store, it seems that this initiative would put Nordstrom ahead of the pack (see story).

To ensure that the CUSP initiative resonates with as many consumers as possible, Neiman Marcus should draw subsidiary projects from its framework.

"What needs to follow is an integrated plan to maintain the relationship that they have initiated," Mr. Rodgerson said.

"They can only achieve this by committing themselves to an ongoing social media campaign," he said. "Other retailers and brands have accomplished this by hosting an online forum where the members of the audience can communicate on topics of a shared interest.

"Another method of maintaining a permission-based relationship is to provide that group with early notification of events and seeking their feedback on new products."

Final take

Joe McCarthy, editorial assistant on  Luxury Daily, New York