E-gift your love this hol­i­day

Nord­strom shop­pers can e-mail gift for re­cip­i­ent to ac­cept, al­ter or ex­change.

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Lind­sey Rupp

Nord­strom Inc., fight­ing to stay rel­e­vant with con­sumers who are shift­ing their spend­ing on­line, is let­ting shop­pers dig­i­tally send their presents this hol­i­day sea­son.

The up­scale re­tailer has part­nered with gift-card provider CashS­tar Inc. to let cus­tomers e-mail spe­cific items from the re­tailer’s web­site to peo­ple on their hol­i­day lists. Re­cip­i­ents can ac­cept the items that ap­pear in their in­boxes and have them shipped to their doors, ex­change the mer­chan­dise for some­thing else or ac­cept the value as a gift card.

“As far as gift­ing goes, there’s this bal­ance of con­ve­nience and thought­ful­ness, and we’re go­ing to con­tinue to strive to help the cus­tomer nav­i­gate that,” Sean Bur­row, di­rec­tor of gift card at Seat­tle­based Nord­strom, said in an in­ter­view.

Nord­strom is test­ing the e-gift­ing plat­form on its full-line web­site, Bur­row said. The re­tailer ex­pects the fea­ture to be use­ful year-round. Nord­strom’s gift-card sales are in­creas­ing across all chan­nels and have been ex­ceed­ing the com­pany’s over­all growth rate, Bur­row said.

Nord­strom is bet­ting the new op­tion will set it apart from mall-based ri­vals and help it win over last-minute shop­pers who are look­ing for con­ve­nience. Gift cards topped the list of most-re­quested items by con­sumers for the 10th year in a row, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Re­tail Fed­er­a­tion. Still, al­most half of buy­ers said they were re­luc­tant or un­will­ing to buy gift cards be­cause they’d rather wrap up some­thing more per­sonal, ac­cord­ing to surveys by Port­land, Maine-based CashS­tar.

CashS­tar plans to of­fer e-gifts through other re­tail part­ners. One ben­e­fit they’re tout­ing to re­tail­ers is a chance to re­duce re­turns. About 15 per­cent of to­tal hol­i­day sales, or $90 bil­lion in goods, were re­turned last year, ac­cord­ing to the NRF. In ad­di­tion to los­ing a sale, re­turns cre­ate headaches and ex­penses for re­tail­ers that have to process those goods and de­ter­mine which can be resold — of­ten at a dis­counted price.

Joe Rae­dle, Getty Images

To com­pete with on­line shop­ping, Nord­strom is of­fer­ing to let cus­tomers e-mail gift items from their web­site. Re­cip­i­ents can ac­cept or ex­change.

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