I went to a NM focus group! Here's the scoop

  1. OK, ladies, many of you know I was selected to participate in a focus group about shopping! Normally these studies are conducted by neutral market research companies and the actual client is anonymous. However, in this case our compensation was a $250 NM gift card so we KNEW who the client was!

    As promised, here's my recap.

    What I liked:
    - Very dynamic, energetic group with a moderator...6 women participating sitting aorund a conference room table, 1 woman moderator, an offsite recorder and a couple people behind a one way mirror observing. They videotaped the discussion and got our OK to use a clip for review if need be.

    - We got food! It was 2 hours around dinner time.
    - I got to meet very outgoing, fashion forward professional women! We had SO much fun.
    - What we had in common: we all have busy, professional lives and adore the convenience of online shopping for great quality designer merchandise.
    - Drooled :drool: over an amazing Prada bag with a chain strap that one woman had an a TDF LV Manhattan GM on another. WOW.
    - The 2 hours flew by. We were asked to comment on our lifestyles, online shopping habits, where we shop online and why, what % was with NM, what we liked and didn't like about the site, which areas we frequent on the site and which we don't, etc.
    - In general, we liked the ease of site navigation, stability, convenience and the easy in and out experience. Plus, the clothing views and the account information that's saved. Things that could be improved: more wardrobe suggestions for total outfits and better sizing and fit specifications.
    - I got called back for a 1:1 interview tomorrow and will get another $250 gift certificate for another two hours' time! :wlae:

    What I didn't like:
    - Everyone there, myself included, thought we were going to discuss shopping in general and what we wanted to see with the upcoming NM store which is under construction in the Seattle suburbs. Rather, we were picked to discuss online shopping at NM.
    - Prada Psycho, I did throw in our complaint (and many others who share it here on tPF) that the actual stores don't take Visa. All heads nodded in the room. It was at the end of the session so I sure hope it got on tape :graucho: . To be absolutely sure, I'll mention it again at the 1:1 interview tomorrow.
  2. Cool! I am so jealous! What a fun way to get a giftcard!! :smile:
  3. Neat experience!!
  4. Wow, that was so cool! It seems like you had lots of fun though!
  5. Sounds awesome!! I hope they listened to your comment about Visa! :yes:
  6. That's very cool that you get to participate. Since you are returning tomorrow, here's my big complaint about Neimans online that you might want to pass along...

    I think they charge waaaaaay too much for shipping because they base the shipping cost on the purchase amount. For example, it costs $22 for standard shipping on an item over $500. That really adds up when you are buying an expensive sweater or something small (but pricey) that costs them very little to send!

    So glad you mentioned their dumb rule about stores not accepting Visa and Mastercard--hopefully they will change that soon.

    Have fun tomorrow!
  7. Hey, if they are looking for more volunteers, let me know. I order from NM online and live in the Seattle area! :graucho:
  8. WOOHOOO congrats.. glad it went well..

    enjoy your voucher tooo...
  9. whoa, sounds like you had a great time and got paid :drool:
    Let us know how it goes tomorrow at the 1:1
  10. that's pretty cool.. glad you had a good time... and the compensation, not bad at all.. hehe
  11. sounds cool...and a total of $500...that's almost a purse!
  12. Pursegrrl what fun!! I would have loved it!
  13. Sounds fab! Let us know how the 1:1 goes tomorrow:flowers:
  14. Oh my! How I wish I'd been chosen for such a group. I make InCircle on my mail order purchases alone and have a real love/hate relationship with N-M/Horchow.

    (1) My biggest complaint? The cost of shipping! Absolutely every other mail order place gives me free shipping on my large orders (I'm talking over $250). First, N-M shipping charges are based on the dollar amount ordered, not the actual weight of the item. I can often get my shipping cost waived, but it takes me about 10 minutes of talking to a supervisor to do so.

    (2) Which brings me to my second complaint. The Dallas service center is staffed with idiots! Especially the managers. Although English is their native language, they aren't very good with it, are not customer focused, and seem to have a negative attitude. As an example, about four years ago, I ordered a small birthday present (~$60) on a Wednesday and paid extra for overnight shipping as I wanted to take it to party on Saturday. The item did not arrive until the following Monday. I called and asked for my shipping to be refunded and was refused by a supervisor! She told me if I wannit to be takin' birfday prezints to partays on saturdays i shud be plannin' a hole lot farter in avance than wensday!

    Since then, I have made most of my calls in the evenings, and get the service center in western Canada. The service there has been uniformly pleasant.

    (3) Price discrimination. Since my mother has been ill, I have been reading both her email and my own. I am livid that she is extended LARGER discounts than I am, even though I spend far more at N-M than she does and have been an InCircle customer for at least a dozen years. I can cite 15% v. 20% discounts in emails from the last month (actually, I just looked and see these were both from Horchow, a division of NM. But I still spend more than her there.)

    (4) Speaking of InCircle, wouldn't it be nice if we were treated with just a little more kindness from the service center than strangers are? Amazon.com gives me free shipping on all media items, and I spend a fraction of what I spend at NM there. Free or low cost shipping is the break I'd most like to see at NM.

    (5) Price differences between NM and Horchow. Here NM wins, although it's still a bit irritating that huge differences exist.

    Both sites carry many of the same items, calls are handled at the same service centers, and inventory is shipped from the same warehouses. But if there's a price difference, NM almost always has the lower price. So word to the wise: if you see something you like in a Horchow catalog, see if it's carried on the neimanmarcus.com site. It might very well be 40% off there. I've taken advantage of this difference many times.

    I live about an hour away from decent shopping so I end up buying about 90% of my non-grocery goods via mail order. N-M has improved over the last decade, but still has quite a way to go, especially if they want to be considered a luxury provider.
  15. Thanks for the update!