Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
13 September 2017
The Nordstrom brand takes a new approach
Nordstrom is launching a new kind of store, as the Nordstrom brand verges on being bought by Leonard Green & Partners, taking the chain private. In a departure from traditional retailing, Nordstrom is opening a store with no in-store inventory. Rather, the store focuses on services like alterations, meeting with style consultants and picking up online orders. The store will also offer manicures and sport a beverage bar. The first store locates in West Hollywood on high-end Melrose.
This is an interesting move for the Nordstrom brand to say the least. Most of us think of Nordstrom’s differentiator as its level of personal service. This store epitomizes that. It holds no inventory – only service. From that perspective, it is entirely on brand for Nordstrom. It is also locating in an area well known for high-end shopping, dining and entertainment. That’s also somewhat reflective of its brand.
Will this work for the Nordstrom brand?
However, I don’t think it will work. It’s a novelty. How many women shopping in that district will run to Nordstrom to have their nails done? (Especially considering there are at least a dozen of other nail places on Melrose Ave.)
“Nordstrom changing the model represents interesting out-of-the-box thinking. Given the fundamental change in the retail space over the last few years, I am not sure Nordstrom’s customers want this.”
I realize the primary reason for visiting the store is not a nail salon. But it illustrates the fundamental problem with the store. If the value of the Nordstrom brand is service, how do these services relate to shopping? The ability to pick up orders ordered online? Tailoring?
Nordstrom must think about what its brand development means. Because the true value of ordering online means the shopper does not have to go anywhere to get it. The shopper orders, and the expectation is that it will ship to my home. If shoppers drive to pick up an order, they could have just as easily driven to Nordstrom in the first place.
I am not suggesting that I know more about Nordstrom’s customers than it does. But I do understand human behavior. Nordstrom changing the model represents interesting out-of-the-box thinking. Given the fundamental change in the retail space over the last few years, I am not sure Nordstrom’s customers want this. Even if it means they receive a manicure and drink a glass of wine.
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