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Online retailers have spoiled consumers with low prices, free shipping, and fast delivery. With such benefits, traditional brick-and-mortar stores with an online presence have struggled to compete in the e-commerce space, often relying on the in-store experience to help build consumer loyalty. Nordstrom.com is one such retailer, and the brand has proposed a bold new plan to marry its online storefront with an innovative new way to use its physical presence. The retailer hopes this effort will allow it to differentiate its brand from the competition and attract high-end consumers that value a VIP experience, along with the convenience of online shopping.

Nordstrom’s new pilot concept store in the Seattle area will offer customers a shopping experience that combines an online interaction with an enhanced in-store shopping experience. The Nordstrom’s website or mobile application will allow users to create a digital closet of items. Once the customer’s selection is complete or the session is ended, an e-vite is automatically generated, suggesting a visit to the new concept store. If the user accepts the invitation, the digital closet items are placed in a dressing room before the customer arrives. The customer receives a personalized, in-store experience where she or he can view all of the items in the digital closet, as well as any add-ons the salesperson may suggest. Visits can be quick and efficient, or the customer can peruse the brand’s available selection for additional items. Purchases are then made in person, saving Nordstrom the cost of packaging and shipping the items.

Nordstrom also has invested in new technology to facilitate this more streamlined and unified customer experience. It hopes this new idea will pay off with increased sales and new loyal customers. Nordstrom has also rolled out its technology offering to its 3,000 brand partners, hoping to keep these products affiliated with its brand and potentially attract new partners that can add new variety to the portfolio of products that Nordstrom can offer to consumers.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is Nordstrom doing to compete online?
  2. Would these services be sufficiently advantageous to you, so as to overcome Nordstrom’s premium prices?

Source: James Tenser, Retail Wire, March 24, 2017