Nordstrom Local hopes for big returns from the competition
As retailers try to woo customers with next-level convenience, they have begun introducing offerings that might have appeared to compromise their competitive edge in an earlier era. Case in point is the new return policy Nordstrom will be piloting at its Local concept stores in Manhattan — the chain is now taking returns from the competition.
People will be able to return products purchased online from Macy’s and Kohl’s at each of the small-format Nordstrom Local stores, which will be open by the end of this month in Manhattan, according to Bloomberg.
One Nordstrom Local location opened earlier in September on the Upper East Side; the second is slated to open in the West Village.
Making it easy to return products purchased elsewhere may drive foot traffic to the Nordstrom Local stores, but given that the concept holds little or no stock available for immediate purchase, it seems the chain is looking for a different type of conversion out of visitors.
The service-focused locations in Manhattan will also feature shoe repair, charity drop-offs and stroller cleanings, Bloomberg reported.
The new returns relationship has been garnering comparisons to the recent partnership between Amazon.com and Kohl’s, which allows visitors to Kohl’s stores to drop off products purchased on Amazon.com for return to the e-tailer. The partnership, which began as a pilot in 2017, proved successful enough to merit being rolled out to all of Kohl’s store locations this year.
While the Kohl’s/Amazon.com return relationship fits into a broader “co-opetitive” relationship between the legacy retailer and the e-tail giant, it’s not clear that Nordstrom’s handling of Macy’s and Kohl’s returns is indicative of any planned further connections between the chains.
Nordstrom has used similar tactics to get customers in the door. Earlier this year in Los Angeles, four Nordstrom locations — three of them Nordstrom Local stores — installed drop boxes for Rent the Runway customers. Plans are for the store locations to allow pickups for people renting clothing from the e-tailer in the future.
- Nordstrom Will Let You Return Your Macy’s Online Order In Store – Bloomberg
- Nordstrom’s New Upper East Side Store Sells Nothing – Patch
- Kohl’s goes all-in on Amazon returns – RetailWire
- Rent the Runway lands inside Nordstrom – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will the traffic generated by offering returns for other retailers at Nordstrom Local concepts in Manhattan be valuable enough to make it worthwhile? What might be the advantages of Nordstrom offering such a service and where might the test lead?