Surprise Retail Innovation: Recharge Your Phone at Bergdorf Goodman For Free

December 4, 2015

The other day I needed to recharge my phone. A wise old owl told me to go to the fifth floor of Bergdorf Goodman in New York City where you can put your phone in a safe compartment, connect it to a charger and after an hour pick up your phone fully charged again. Wow! What customer service.

The phone charging service is free for customers. Stores clearly benefit from extra traffic when customers know the chargers are available. They also benefit from the extra time customers spend in stores while waiting for the phone to charge. I think it is a terrific idea since the average Apple phone barely makes it through the day.

The charging station concept was developed by a Philadelphian, Douglas Baldasare, CEO of ChargeItSpot, who manufacturers the units and monitors them so customers can easely retrieve their phones. I asked him where these units could be found he told me that Neiman Marcus, Rite Aid, Bloomingdale’s, AT&T, MGM, Caesars Casinos Westfield Malls, and UnderArmour stores, among others, are customers at this time.

I asked Neiman Marcus how they liked the technology. John Koryl, President Neiman Marcus stores, said that they are very pleased with their expanding partnership with ChargeItSpot. It delivers to Neiman Marcus customers a free and secure phone charge so they can relax and shop with peace of mind. He reminded me that providing the best customer experience to their guests is a top priority. Much of their investment in technology is not just back office tech, but actual innovation that touches customers and solves a problem.

From ApplePay, to RFID, to Smart Fitting Rooms, I have observed many technological changes. Both Neiman Marcus and Macy’s are on the forefront when it comes to developing new technology that benefits the customer. Often the goal is to keep them in the store longer. In some cases the stores also benefit by gaining information about customers, such as e-mail addresses that are then used for future mailings.

It’s a great to see a new world of retail technology especially when it makes the customer’s life easier and better.

(This article by Walter Loeb was originally published on Forbes)