The lines between e-commerce and brick and mortar retail are blurring.
Given the ways in which e-commerce has transformed shopping, big retailers would be wise to invest a lot in technology--especially in ways to bring the e-commerce experience to brick-and-mortar stores. And Neiman Marcus is certainly doing that. In fact, the retailer, which was recently bought for $6 billion by Ares Management and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, is investing $100 million in it.
The retailer is allotting that much to develop its "omnichannel capabilities" over the next few years, which basically means restructuring its merchandising process across all brands and channels so that everything is done via one platform, as opposed to, say, separate platforms for in-store and e-commerce.
WWD reports this news from Texas A&M University’s Retailing Summit. “The lines have completely blurred between brick-and-mortar and e-commerce,” said Jim Gold, president of Neiman Marcus Group. “The great challenge for retailers today is how to make the experience seamless."
The most exciting advantage that could bring customers? In-store pickup. "We’re just about to turn on that you can buy online and pick it up in the store," said Gold. It seems like such a feature would be pretty simple to establish, but it's super complicated from the backend, which is why Neiman Marcus has to invest so much time and money into integrating everything it does.
Neiman Marcus isn't the only retailer doing it, though. Macy's and Bloomingdale's both have plans to implement in-store pickup in the near future. Saks Fifth Avenue CEO Stephen Sadove even told the trade that it's spending "well north of $100 million" on its omnichannel capabilities. Nordstrom CFO Mike Coppel one-upped him by saying it plans to spend $900 million on e-commerce and digital programs in the next few years.
Meaning: Soon, with advancements in e-commerce, mobile, and more; technology is going to change the way we shop even moreso than it already has.