Neiman Marcus hosts bigger Foursquare challenge

Neiman Marcus is hosting its second in-store Foursquare challenge in which customers who check into store locations can win a Manolo Blahnik coffee table book, said Wanda Gierhart, CMO of the Neiman Marcus Group. The event, called the “Blahnick Book Foursquare Hunt,” will take place March 31.

“We are hoping to engage those customers who are growing increasingly comfortable with using online media in many different ways as well as new customers who might be socially active on sites like Foursquare, but had not come into Neiman Marcus before,” Gierhart said. She added that while the first Foursquare competition took place in 15 stores, this second one is significantly bigger—taking place in all 42 locations.

“This is our second time to do this and we expect to learn a great deal from how our customers respond to this particular challenge on a larger scale,” Gierhart said.

The Blahnick Book “Manolo’s New Shoes” will launch in conjunction with the retailer’s Spring 2012 Neiman Marcus Shoe & Handbag Event, the company said in a statement.

Customers who want to participate in the challenge must check in using the location-based social site Foursquare to a Neiman Marcus location on March 31 using their smartphones. Once checked in, those consumers will be given a clue to find a placard placed somewhere in the store. The guest who first turns in the placard to customer service wins the coffee table book.

Social media has been an important aspect of Neiman Marcus’s customer engagement and marketing strategies. “We want to communicate with our customer by any means she wants to use,” said Gierhart. “Foursquare has over 15 million global users so it is clearly a platform that we want to learn to use well.”

Neiman Marcus has been particularly active using location-based services to power awareness campaigns based around scavenger hunts, the benefits of which, Gierhart said, is that they push the customer to explore new departments within the store. “Often customers will shop only in one department or come in the same entrance each time they visit,” she said. “[A scavenger hunt] creates an opportunity for them to see what all Neiman Marcus has to offer.”

Last October, the retailer incented customers during its fall shoe and handbag event to check into the store using Foursquare by offering a free handbag. “When customers checked into a store via Foursquare they were notified whether the location featured a hidden Nancy Gonzalez clutch, and were provided with a clue on how to find it,” Gierhart said.

Last March, the retailer initiated a location-based campaign that used the mobile app Scvnger.

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