Nordstrom focuses on seamless shopping as stores reopen
Nordstrom has long linked its in-store and online operations, and as it slowly begins to reopen its locations, management is counting on seamless shopping experiences to help put customers at ease at a time of stress.
“We’ve been investing in our digital and physical capabilities to keep pace with rapidly changing customer expectations. The impact of COVID-19 is only accelerating the importance of these capabilities in serving customers,” said Erik Nordstrom, chief executive officer of Nordstrom, Inc., in a statement.
Nordstrom ties more than half its store sales to customer journeys that begin online and a third of its digital sales to an in-store experience.
“More than ever, we need to work with flexibility and speed,” Mr. Nordstrom said. “Our market strategy helps with both, bringing inventory closer to where customers live and work, allowing us to use our stores as fulfillment centers to get products to customers faster, and connecting digital and physical experiences with services like curbside pickup and returns.”
The retailer is using its full-line department stores and Nordstrom Rack locations to fulfill online orders. Staff at all of Nordstrom’s department stores currently fulfill more than half the orders placed on Nordstrom.com.
Last month, Nordstrom began using store associates at its Rack stores to fulfill orders placed on nordstromrack.com and hautelook.com. Roughly 25 percent of orders placed on those sites are now being fulfilled from store locations.
Nordstrom plans to reopen its physical locations in a phased approach as localities lift stay-at-home orders for the public and allow retailers, albeit with recommended safety modifications, to serve customers in stores. The retailer plans to:
- Conduct employee health screenings;
- Provide face masks for associates and customers;
- Limit the number of customers and employees in stores;
- Increase cleaning and sanitization;
- Modify fitting rooms;
- Reduce hours of operation;
- Pause or adapt high-touch services and events;
- Keep returned or tried-on merchandise off the sales floor for a period of time.
The retailer also announced that it plans to close 16 of its 116 full-line stores and restructure its corporate, regional and support functions in an effort, along with previously announced cuts, to put it on stronger financial footing going forward.
In a securities filing last month, Nordstrom warned that online sales were not sufficient to maintain its business and its “financial situation could become distressed” if its stores were to “remain closed to customers for an extended period of time.”
- Nordstrom Provides COVID-19 Business Update – Nordstrom, Inc.
- Report of unscheduled material events or corporate event (Form 8-K) – Nordstrom, Inc.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How well prepared, comparatively speaking, do you think Nordstrom is as it begins to reopen stores closed by the coronavirus outbreak? How do you expect a retailer renowned for its customer service to maintain that reputation in an atmosphere where social distancing is required?