Retail Therapy: Neiman Marcus Staff on Instagram, Dallas' Gardenuity, Walmart's Checkout Carousels

Neiman Marcus is giving its sales associates a new tool to sell directly online and get compensated for it.Many of the Dallas-based retailer's sales staffers are already posting new merchandise and putting together looks on Instagram for their customers.Now they're getting a platform developed with Montreal-based Salesfloor that allows them to post their ideas online with links that send shoppers to NeimanMarcus.com.It's a way for sales associates to earn commissions as more purchases shift online. Last year, 34.5% of Neiman Marcus' total sales of $4.9 billion were transacted online. That's up from about 20% just five years ago. CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck has said he expects sales to eventually split 50% online and 50% in stores.The company's sales associates are already influencing customer sales. Tenured store associates are highly productive with about half of them generating more than $750,000 of sales last year, according to the company's annual filing."We saw an opportunity to create a frictionless experience for customers who wanted to interact and buy with their associates on Instagram," said Stefanie Tsen, senior vice president of omichannnel customer experience at Neiman Marcus.Hundreds of sales associates have started using Salesfloor's SocialShop platform. So far, 13 stores have access to the technology, including locations in downtown Dallas, NorthPark Center and Fort Worth.At a recent meeting to introduce it to NorthPark sales associates, Tsen said, "their eyes lit up and [they] were so excited about the platform."Neiman Marcus was an early adopter of the influencer scene and has managed a "few hundred" bloggers and social media personalities in house. Neiman Marcus also is a retailer in the network of influencers built by Dallas-based RewardStyle."It's a big thing for us and we strive to build a meaningful relationship with influencers," said John Walls, Neiman Marcus spokesman. "They help us highlight partnerships and collaborations. It's another way to connect with our customers."Their own store employees gives the company one more layer of social media selling.  Continue reading...

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