New Nordstrom store aims for personal touch
The latest addition to the Nordstrom roster looks nothing like a department store and more like an exclusive boutique crossed with a hipster coffee and juice bar.
At Nordstrom Local, a 3,000square-foot, ivy-covered shop on Melrose Place in Los Angeles’ Beverly Grove neighbourhood, customers can meet with a personal stylist, have clothing tailored, get a manicure and sip a beverage laced with caffeine or alcohol.
Just don’t try to browse the racks. Because there aren’t any.
Shea Jensen, Nordstrom’s senior vice-president for customer experience, said the new shop, which is much smaller than the chain’s average 140,000-square-foot store, is an experiment emphasizing pampered service and convenience.
“What we are trying to do is bring together the best of our most popular services to a place that is very easy for our customers to access as they are shopping with Nordstrom,” she said.
“Time is a precious commodity and we know that our customers appreciate speed and convenience,” Jensen said. “With Nordstrom Local we are trying to create more accessibility and opportunities.”
Nordstrom’s test concept comes as traditional retailers are being battered by the growing popularity of shopping online and at discount mass merchants, which has eroded mall traffic and hurt profit margins. Sears Canada has announced it is closing down, throwing 12,000 people out of work.
Nordstrom, which primarily is found at malls with more expensive stores, has held up better than many other retailers, and members of the Nordstrom family who run the Seattle company have been trying to raise money to take it private. The company operates 121 traditional Nordstrom stores in the U.S. and Canada, 224 Nordstrom Rack discount stores, two Jeffrey boutiques and two clearance stores.
Retail experts say Nordstrom may be on to something by offering a different, more intimate approach at Nordstrom Local. The retailer is borrowing a page from several trendy e-commerce sites that have opened bricks-and-mortar storefronts as showrooms to try on clothing or to connect with their fan base.
“There’s a new term for this, which we call ‘retail-tainment,’” said Lisa Haddock, who teaches marketing, brand management and consumer behaviour at San Diego State University.
It’s designed to be “a fun, unique, personalized experience,” Haddock said.
“A customer can have a glass of wine. She can have her nails done. She can relax. You have to have that kind of interaction to engage the customer and reach them on an emotional level.”
Nordstrom Local is designed around a one-stop shopping approach, Jensen said. Customers who have bought items online can pick up their purchases in the store, make sure they fit and get them altered if they don’t.
A customer tries on a pair of Gucci sneakers at Nordstrom Local in LA.