APP-Y SERVICE: Neiman Marcus is testing a new iPhone app to provide more immediate service to its customers. The app, developed by Signature, is being tested at four stores in Austin and Dallas, Tex. and San Francisco and Palo Alto, Calif.

Customers download the app from iTunes and opt-in to the service. Sensors are installed at key entry points of the stores so when a customer with the app passes within range, they get alerted on which of their preferred sales associates is in the store, upcoming store events, product arrivals, sales and fashion trends. In addition, the app enables customers to make appointments or leave messages for associates and scan QR codes on signs in the store for trend and product information. Customers can also mark favorite products, which will automatically be visible to their sales associates.

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For the sales associate, the app provides customers’ purchase histories and items they’re seeking. Also, associates are alerted when their customers arrive in the store and are provided a Facebook photograph of the customer.

“The NM Service App allows us to take our service philosophy into the digital era,” said Jim Gold, president of specialty retail, Neiman Marcus Group. He said the technology will strengthen client-sales associate relationships and enhance the shopping experience.

“Neiman Marcus recognizes that the key to a terrific retail experience is personal and differentiated service,” added David Hegarty, chief executive officer of Signature.

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