Imagine sitting on the patio of your favorite café enjoying a freshly brewed cup of joe while you watch the growing crowd wait on the corner to cross the always busy city street. All of a sudden you see it. The black, faux leather purse with the tan stitching you’ve waited weeks to cross paths with, which you couldn’t find anywhere online, seems to be suspended effortlessly from the same woman’s hand right in front of you. Since you’ve been preparing for this exact moment, you immediately grab your iPhone, open the Neiman Marcus app, and snap a picture of your soon-to-be most prized possession.   Victory is yours.

In October 2014, luxury fashion retailer Neiman Marcus launched its highly anticipated 3D app called “Snap. Find. Shop.” For its first release, the app allowed for a real-world shopping experience available to all customers who downloaded the Neiman Marcus app, powered by leading mobile visual search firm Slyce, via the iTunes app store. By using visual search technology, the app user could snap a picture of any item and the app would immediately provide all closely matched products currently available on the company’s website.  Unfortunately, the first release only allowed shoppers to snap images of fashion items like shoes and handbags.

Luckily, less than one year later, the company expanded its “Snap. Find. Shop.” app to include all product categories – women’s and men’s fashion and accessories, beauty, children’s and home items – within the store. Since there is no need to crop the pictures or search for any particular category, the steps between taking that first “snap” and making the final purchase is almost too easy.

“With the expansion of Snap. Find. Shop. to all categories of merchandise, we are able to exceed our customers’ expectations and allow them to easily shop with us at any time and from any place,” Neiman Marcus Chief Marketing Officer, Wanda Gierhart, stated in a recent article from Chain Store Age.

Another major department store, Macy’s, released its own version of a visual fashion app in September 2014; one month prior to the Neiman Marcus launch. Being a 718-unit luxury department store, it is almost expected that Macy’s would release some type of an app to its shoppers. For Neiman Marcus, it is a huge victory for the smaller, 41-unit brand (CSG Database of Department Stores & Shoe Retailers).