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Neiman Marcus tests personal shopping mobile app

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Retailers will test Signature Labs iPhone application that creates tighter relationships between customers and specific store associates.

A growing number of retailers are testing mobile technologies to assist with payments or to let customers gather more information about products. Neiman Marcus, which has long distinguished itself through personal shoppers, is bringing its philosophy into the mobile world, with a bit of a twist.

The company is testing an Apple iPhone application developed by Signature Labs that it is branding as NM Service. The app, available to customers in Austin and Dallas in Texas, and San Francisco and Palo Alto in California, lets customers communicate and interact directly with sales assistants.

The application works in a couple of different ways. For example, if a customer has downloaded the application and he or she walks into a Neiman Marcus store, sensors that interact with his or her mobile devices will kick into action. When that happens, alerts will be sent to the customer that let him or her know where in the store a preferred sales assistant might be working at that given moment in time. The application will also alert the customer about promotions or upcoming events that might be of interest.

On the flip side, customers can use the application to mark products as they browse the store or to scan QR codes that might provide more details about a given item.

Neiman Marcus views the application as a way of extending its personal service philosophy, said Jim Gold, president of specialty retail for The Neiman Marcus Group.

This is only a test, for now. Based on the results of the feedback from the Dallas, Austin, San Francisco, and Palo Alto trials, the retailer will decide how to roll out the application more broadly.

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(Image courtesy of Signature Labs)

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Heather Clancy

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Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure