Wanda Gierhart is the SVP and CMO for Neiman Marcus, the premier omni-channel retailer of luxury and fashion merchandise in the US.
Since its founding in 1907, the company has been known for its commitment to merchandising excellence and customer service.
Wanda joined Neiman Marcus in 2009. Previously, she was President and CEO, Travel Smith Outfitters; EVP Merchandising and Marketing, Design within Reach; and EVP and CMO at Limited Brands.
1. What is one marketing topic that is most important to you as an innovator?
There are numerous fronts in which we are innovating but the most important is personalization.
2. Why is this so important?
At the core of our business, Neiman Marcus is about delivering an incredible luxury service experience. We’ve been doing this in-store for over 100 years and with the increasing use of the internet, mobile devices, social, and other channels, maintaining that high touch service is more important than ever.
3. How will the customer experience be improved by this?
We believe that excellent personalization helps bridge the gap between the store and digital or e-commerce experience and improves service regardless of how the customer shops with us. While we’ve all heard success stories in personalization online, and we have many of our own, there is plenty of room for improvement.
Just like a great sales associate knows the tastes, preferences, and important details about a customer’s life and uses that to deliver world class service, exceptional personalization online though a mix of innovation, people, and technology is working toward doing the same.
Some examples of our innovation include the introduction of Snap.Find.Shop. and MyNM.
MyNM is a new section on NeimanMarcus.com that is about all things personalized and trending.
Right now customers can find product recommendations, items that are new since they’ve last visited the site, top trending items in their local area, most popular products from their favorite vendors, events in their local store, and other popular content. Keep an eye out over the next several months for additional features making the experience even more personalized.
Just like a customer can bring in a photo or magazine and show something they saw to a sales associate and say “I want something like this” we wanted a way for customers to do this at the moment of inspiration, wherever they were.
As a result, we are the first luxury retailer to offer our customers a visual search technology solution that allows them to use their smart phone to photograph any shoe or handbag they see, literally anywhere, and find a similar item for immediate purchase. Snap.Find.Shop. is a feature on Neiman Marcus’ Shopping App, available for download here.
4. How will this improve the effectiveness of marketing?
As our personalized e-commerce service moves closer and closer to an in-store experience, we develop a deeper relationship and further trust with our clients. Relationships and trust result in customer loyalty. And loyalty means business.
It’s a cycle, more loyalty means more business, more business means more innovation to better service our customer.
What is your favorite activity outside of work?
Wanda’s favorite out of office activities include watching her daughter dance and supporting the arts through her involvement with organizations like TACA.