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Neiman Marcus links customers, sales associates via iPhone app

Dallas - Neiman Marcus is trying out a new iPhone-only app that allows customers to interact directly with their sales associates.

NM Service, as the new app is dubbed, is being tested this spring at four store locations: two in Texas - one here and another in Austin; and two in California - one in San Francisco and another in Palo Alto.

Developed by Signature, NM Service has two interfaces: one for customers and one for sales associates.

"Ultimately, each interface provides a more personal, mobile shopping experience for the Neiman Marcus customer," the company said.

The way it works is that the customer downloads the app from iTunes and opts into the service. In-store location sensors are installed at key entry points throughout the store. If a customer with the app loaded passes within range, the sensor automatically prompts NM Service to act.

Once the app is engaged, customers will be alerted as to which of their preferred sales associates are currently in the store, as well as upcoming store events, new product arrivals and sales, and emerging fashion trends.

Customers can also mark favorite products, which will automatically be visible to the customer's sales associates. The app allows customers to easily make appointments or leave messages for associates. In addition, they will be able to scan QR codes on signs throughout the store to unlock the latest trends and product information directly on his or her phone.

From a sales associate's perspective, NM Service allows associates to better serve customer needs. The app provides associates with easy access to informative details, such as Neiman Marcus store and neimanmarcus.com purchase history and direct access to a customer's new favorite items. Notifications automatically alert sales associates when their customer arrives in a store and provides a Facebook photograph so the customer can be easily recognized.

"For more than 100 years at Neiman Marcus, our belief in the importance of providing exemplary customer service has been a core corporate value," said Jim Gold, president, specialty retail, The Neiman Marcus Group. "The NM Service App allows us to take our service philosophy into the digital era. We look forward to using this cutting-edge technology to make our client-sales associate relationship even stronger, and further enhancing the Neiman Marcus shopping experience"

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