Reverse Logistics for Specialty Retailers

On and Off the Web – How Nordstrom Rack Meets the Challenge

If you’ve ever been on the hunt for the perfect little black dress or for the dress shirt and tie that can’t fail to impress, chances are you have been to Nordstrom. Their discount outlet, Nordstrom Rack, maintains the brand reputation for high quality, but at a much lower price point. And it works! Even now, Nordstrom remains an icon in high-quality, high-dollar retail.

Since 2010, Nordstrom Rack has grown an average of 2 billion dollars every five years. Even at a time when people are staying home in droves, they plan to grow even further. How do they do it, and how can the model they create help others in retail?

Location, Location, Location

Nordstrom Rack is not on every street corner. It is, however, usually next door to a Nordstrom. Having adjacent stores provides customers the opportunity to shop more. In a recent article, Nordstrom Rack CEO Geevy Thomas says that customers make a point to visit both stores whether they are shopping Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack.

While the ability to have your own outlet on your block is not within reach of many retailers, the ability to be part of an accessible shopping area is. Shoppers value the ability to get what they want without getting back into their cars. Creating community between retailers entices your customers to browse, linger, and potentially spend more.

Convenience for Shoppers and Retailers

In December of 2020, 71% of Americans were working from home. Retailers all over the country were forced into internet commerce as a matter of survival. Half a year later, working and shopping from home are not going away. Already experienced in online sales, the Nordstrom brand last year accelerated its pace through innovation.

Sharing inventory between brick and mortar and fulfillment centers, implementing next-day BOPIS, and sending Nordstrom returns directly to Nordstrom Rack streamlined delivery at a time when many were faltering. It increased the convenience to shoppers, despite not being physically present in every market. As Thomas says, “We are in everybody’s phone. And we are on everybody’s couch when they’re sitting there with their iPad or at their work desk. We view convenience as being where they want to shop.”

Being there really is the most important thing a retailer can do. Accurate websites, updated social media, and attentive customer communication are necessary for a market where many consumers spend over 8.5 hours a day in front of a screen but won’t wait five minutes for customer service.

As expected, Nordstrom goes further here, too. Instead of a simple “chat” feature on their website, they now offer shopping and styling services via text. Sales associates help customers make choices based on their shopping history or style recommendations. They can choose their look and make their purchase without leaving their desk or even opening their computer.

Bringing It All Together

By efficiently managing their omnichannel presence, Nordstrom serves their consumers wherever and whenever they want to shop. Integrating Nordstrom Rack into their current web presence consolidates their online shopping experience. Maintaining adjacent brick and mortar locations meets traditional shoppers’ needs. And staying in touch via text keeps them available to their customers at all times.

But you don’t have to be a multinational powerhouse of retail to create value for your customers. Integrating online and brick and mortar inventory makes you more efficient. Grooming your website and social media presence gets you in front of new eyes. Interactive text options for business exponentially increase your reach as a retailer. Taking advantage of existing, innovative technologies like these will help you expand your business and maintain the customer relationships that are so important.