How to Get Product into Neiman Marcus
Neiman Marcus, originally Neiman-Marcus, is an American department store owned by the Neiman Marcus Group, headquartered in Dallas, Texas. The company also owns the Bergdorf Goodman department stores and operates a direct marketing division, Neiman Marcus Direct, which operates catalog and online operations under the Horchow, Neiman Marcus, and Bergdorf Goodman names. Neiman Marcus is currently owned by the Toronto-based Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Los Angeles-based Ares Management.
Herbert Marcus, Sr., a former buyer with Dallas’ Sanger Brothers department store, had left his previous job to found a new business with his sister Carrie Marcus Neiman and her husband, A.L. Neiman, then employees of Sanger Brothers competitor A. Harris and Co. In 1907 the trio found themselves with $25,000 from the successful sales-promotion firm they had built in Atlanta, Georgia, and two potential investments into which to invest the funds. Rather than take a chance on an unknown “sugary soda pop business”, the three entrepreneurs rejected the fledgling Coca-Cola company and chose instead to return to Dallas to found a retail business. For this reason, early company CEO Peb Atera was quoted in 1957 as saying in jest that Neiman Marcus was “founded on bad business judgment”. The store, established on September 10, 1907, was lavishly furnished and stocked with clothing of a quality not commonly found in Texas. Within a few weeks, the store’s initial inventory, mostly acquired on a buying trip to New York made by Carrie, was completely sold out. Oil-rich Texans, welcoming the opportunity to flaunt their wealth in more sophisticated fashion than was previously possible, flocked to the new store. In spite of the Panic of 1907 set off only a few weeks after its opening, Neiman Marcus was instantly successful, and its first several years of operation were quite profitable.
For over a century, The Neiman Marcus Group has stayed focused on serving the unique needs of the luxury market. Today, that commitment is stronger than ever. They have stayed true to the principles of their founders – to be recognized as the premier luxury retailer dedicated to providing our customers with distinctive merchandise and superior service. The Company offers upscale assortments of apparel, accessories, jewelry, beauty and decorative home products to the affluent consumer. The Company operates 42 Neiman Marcus Stores across the United States and two Bergdorf Goodman stores in Manhattan. The Company also operates twenty five Last Call Outlets, twelve Last Call Studios and one Horchow Finale as well as four CUSP stores. These store operations total more than 6.9 million gross square feet. The Company conducts direct to consumer operations under the Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Last Call, Horchow, CUSP and mytheresa brand names.
Contact Mr. Checkout Distributors
At any time, there are hundreds of brands who are knocking on a retail buyers door in an attempt to get on their shelves. If you’re a small company or still trying to make a name for yourself in the industry, it’s best to contact Mr. Checkout Distributors who already have strong relationships with big box retailers around the country.
Mr. Checkout Distributors are always on the lookout for new products that have good margins and are ready for retail. When you put your trust in the experts, you have more time to focus on your business instead of worrying about fine tuning a last minute sales pitch to buyers.
Become A Neiman Marcus Supplier
Consider, as you navigate the Neiman Marcus operations portal, that you have to prioritize making your product stand out amongst the thousands of products Neiman Marcus buyers are exposed to throughout the month.
The work towards making a distinctive product happens at the work station, making sure your branding is concise and stands out, your packaging keeps the product safe but is also consumer friendly, and that the product itself is not in an entirely over-saturated market.
You should also keep in mind that marketing your product traditionally is still important. You should try and get in contact with a Neiman Marcus buyer or invest in putting your product in a trade show.
Neiman Marcus has its own requirements regarding the merchandising. For example, they have information on their merchandise packaging policies and packaging categorization.
They also have information on their routing guides, shipping requirements, and shipment packaging.
Hovering over the domestic section within Neiman Marcus’s operations portal you’ll be able to find information on their policies regarding:
Hovering over the trade compliance section within Neiman Marcus’s operations portal you’ll be able to find information on their policies regarding:
How to get your product into Neiman Marcus
- Understand you client: Before you spend a lot of time and money creating a product, you should know if anyone will want to buy it. Learn more about Market Research
- Learn if it’s protectable: Know if you can defend your product against cheap copies if it gets knocked off. Learn more about Copyright and Patent your product
- Test your product: Make sure that there’s a demand for your product and the customer understands what you are selling when it’s on the shelf and nobody is there to explain it. Learn more about Product Testing
- Perfect your pitch: Before you speak to decision makers, know your numbers, know your retailer and know your logistics in and out. Learn more about Pitching Your Product
- Don’t do it alone: If you haven’t been successful in retail before, a secret of success is that you can’t do it alone. Having great sales staff, customer support and marketing partners can take you from zero to success faster than if you tried on your own. Learn more about Retail Partnerships
Contact Neiman Marcus Buyer
Do not trust any “list” of buyers.
Typically retail buyers change either companies or positions every few years. This strategy helps retailers know that their buyers are not taking “kick-backs” and are selecting the very best product for the very best position each time.
Buyers are typically held to a very rigorous standard of sell-through volume that they must hit and because of this they are risk averse. Your job as a supplier or vendor is to convince them that the buyers going into the stores not only know about what you’re selling but are actively seeking the product in the store currently.
Sometimes easier said than done, however you must get on Neiman Marcus radar.
Call the Neiman Marcus corporate phone number and ask for the names of the buyer and assistant buyers in your category.
Always leave voicemail with whomever the dispatch will connect you.
Use that information to connect with them on LinkedIn, RangeMe and any other professional social platform.
Ask your representative at your trade bureau to connect you to the Neiman Marcus buyers as they will potentially have a better history.
Use advertising, public relations and marketing to make your brand known to Neiman Marcus buyer through 3rd party websites & industry media sources.
Be everywhere that they look, the key is to position your brand as the obvious choice when Neiman Marcus is looking to either refill a slot or create a new category.
Latch on to the news of the day and any trend that will make your product fill that niche whether that be Non-GMO or Vegan Leather for example.
Investing in your brand can only benefit your opportunities in the future. As being “top of mind” will have a ripple effect when you physically present your product at a Neiman Marcus buyers meeting or trade show in the future.
Neiman Marcus buyers typically got to their position by picking “winners” and know how to see through the fluff.
Focus on the numbers, know your bottom dollar during a negotiation and how fees and chargebacks may cut into your position.
Know that long term success may outweigh short term sales, however financing large purchase orders from Neiman Marcus when the net result is negative is not sustainable.
Understand the playing field and the other brands that are in your space, what they are offering as promotion and pricing and how you can stand out against them.
By knowing that each buyer at Neiman Marcus probably knows more than you do, take an active listening approach to sales and understand that no is a perfectly acceptable answer that may have saved you millions of dollars on the backend.
How to Submit a Product to Neiman Marcus
There are several ways to get a product placed in Neiman Marcus. However, most entrepreneurs only dream about getting their product distributed to major retailers, few actually do it. We have experienced a significant rise in interest since the show Shark Tank started airing on NBC. Mr. Checkout has had the pleasure of working with a few Shark Tank success stories such as KISStixx and 180 Party Cups which are now currently being distributed around the country to stores like Walmart, Target, Kroger, 7-Eleven and more.
If you envision your product would be a good fit for Neiman Marcus, we have a few steps to help you get your product on their shelves.
Here are the 6 steps you need to take to have your product placed in Neiman Marcus.
1. Start with the right questions.) Before you try distributing your product to Neiman Marcus, you need to ask yourself a few basic questions. Do you need to build demand for your product, or is there already a demand for it? Do you know that Neiman Marcus would be interested in selling your product? If you can strike a deal with Neiman Marcus, can you handle the production volume? Do you want to sell directly to Neiman Marcus, or do you want to license your product to a manufacturer that will handle distribution?
2. Be prepared to profit.) Does your product offer enough of a profit margin for Neiman Marcus? Can you sell your product at a reasonable enough profit to cover the packaging, shipping, commissions, marketing and wholesale distribution? Check Neiman Marcus guidelines for other fees that you will have to build into the cost of your product in order for you to be able to turn enough of a profit to make the effort worth your while. If you work with a discount retailer, they will try to strip your profits down to zero in order to keep their prices as low as possible.
The typical breakdown of margins are: If a products costs $1 to produce, that product will retail for $4. That product that retails for $4 will wholesale for $2 to distributors and stores that purchase direct. Big box retailers like Neiman Marcus may offer to pay $1.25 to the manufacturer if the product costs $1 to produce. That is the typical profit margin.
3. Determine if Neiman Marcus is the right store for your product.) The relationship between you and Neiman Marcus starts with you browsing their store for competing products. If Neiman Marcus already has a similar product, it is going to be very difficult to get your product picked up. Spend some time at your local Neiman Marcus to see what kind of products they are selling, speak to the manager and see if he thinks your product will sell well in their store. Picture in which zone your product would best fit on the shelf and keep in mind that the most precious asset that these big box stores value are their shelf space. Keep this information in mind when you are preparing your presentation to Neiman Marcus.
If your company is minority or women owned, check Neiman Marcus website and see if they offer specific opportunities for those designations.
4. Pitch your product to Neiman Marcus.) Decide whether it will be you or a representative to present your product to Neiman Marcus. Your presentation depends heavily on your strengths as a businessperson as they will most likely ask financial questions and logistics questions.
It’s common for companies to hire a broker to pitch their product to Neiman Marcus, as it will be more likely that your product will make it to the next stage if the individual pitching your product has industry knowledge or a personal relationship with Neiman Marcus. The percentage of commission verses, however generally a broker will take around 5% to represent your product to Neiman Marcus.
We at Mr. Checkout have experience dealing with brokers and know that there are several retail brokers that have poor business practices that can potentially damage your brand. If you are seeking a legitimate Neiman Marcus broker, please give us a call for a recommendation. It could save you a huge headache and a lot of money.
5. Complete the required Neiman Marcus paperwork.) Often Neiman Marcus will have you go through an application process. However, before submitting the paperwork required by Neiman Marcus, you should contact a buyer at Neiman Marcus and let them know your intentions. Having a contact inside of the company will potentially move your application more smoothly through the process.
6. Anticipate the need for increased volume.) Having Neiman Marcus agree to stock your product will most likely mean a significant increase in volume. You should be prepared to ramp up your production and informing your manufacturer of this opportunity.
Having production, logistics and distribution to sync is not only difficult, it requires a significant amount of time invested in customer relations. Also, Neiman Marcus may have stipulations in the contract that may penalize you for delays in shipping and production. Have an attorney explain all contracts to you if you don’t understand the terms.
If you’re looking to sell your product to Neiman Marcus, be sure to thoroughly assess the marketplace, carefully prepare for production growth, and take full advantage of resources available to help you grow your business.
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