Nordstrom nails its NYC flagship opening
Department stores have been under scrutiny for failing to stay in tune with their core markets and not updating the environment to meet the needs of today’s shopper. However, it is not doom and gloom across every brand. My visit to Nordstrom’s new flagship store in New York revealed that it is both exciting and relevant.
While many department stores are trying to captivate the Millennials and Gen Z market, Nordstrom is doing it. Services from Express Returns to Service Stations resonate with younger consumers and time-starved shoppers. The space dedicated to Express Pick-Up (buy online and pick up in-store) is organized and inviting. Other amenities offered are charging stations, which are still being used by shoppers, and food/beverage areas, including two restaurants and two bars.
The mix of merchandise includes curation of brands for the younger customer, like Fjällräven and Nike alongside many niche brands and designer exclusives. Nordstrom created a POP-IN shop with EverLane, a fan favorite to today’s conscious shopper who values sustainability and transparency. The shoe floor has a breadth of merchandise to please a wide range of shoppers, from Teva and Steven Madden to Christian Louboutin.
The most exciting area, however, is the Beauty Haven where many brands were showcased with music and lively spirit amongst the staff. The beauty area has an air of excitement not seen in many years for department stores, including a beauty mirror with augmented reality providing shoppers with product recommendations. Beauty concierge is part of the service deliverable as well as facials, blowouts and make-up applications.
Hats off to Nordstrom for creating a fun, exciting environment. The configuration of the building is not an easy one, with split-levels and uneven sides, but Nordstrom has designed a store that is easily navigated, with clear signing, natural light and flow that makes sense to shoppers.
Nordstrom wins because it has curated relevant product with a clear fashion point of view. It has not massed out the assortment with quantity, but zeroed in on the quality. Traditional brands (Burberry) have updated assortments, while younger brands (VOLON) add the edge to newness. Responsible fashion (Madewell) is evident and will resonate with today’s shopper.
The relevancy and depth of experience in the store is enhanced by exceptionally well-trained associates. Empowered associates can create highly engaged selling teams that translate to a committed and loyal shopper. Nordstrom’s senior team listens to its employees and their customers, putting it ahead of the competition.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think Nordstrom has found the executional balance needed to appeal to both its core customers and younger consumers with its new flagship in New York City? What changes made to the flagship do you expect Nordstrom to roll out to its other department stores?