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Nordstrom in Fashion with Social Media, Mobile Tech

At Nordstrom, innovation is never out of style. The upscale fashion apparel chain founded in 1901 wins plaudits for using cutting-edge 21st-century technology to offer shoppers convenience—and to stay competitive as retail migrates online.

Its social media strategy extends well beyond Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to an array of buzz-generating fashion and photo-sharing sites:

  • Pinterest, the popular online bulletin board.
  • Instagram, a photo-sharing site.
  • Polyvore, a site for fashionistas.

Recognizing that its customers always want to stay connected and want a flexible shopping experience the company implemented the following:

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi in its high-end department.
  • Distributed 6,000 modified iTouch devices to sales staff that can ring up purchases on the spot, a process called “mobile checkout,
  • Extending mobile checkout to its Nordstrom Rack discount stores.
  • Offered shoppers the option to retrieve their online purchases at its stores.

The company’s tech strategy already is proving beneficial to its bottom line. In 2011, Nordstrom’s Internet sales grew by 30 percent, according to data provided by the retailer. During a November 10 earnings call, Nordstrom President Blake Nordstrom said the retailer plans to increase spending on e-commerce from $100 million in 2011 to $140 million this year—its highest such expenditure ever.

Social media is a very broad subject—some people look at it as, ‘If you have a Facebook page, then you’ve got a social media strategy.’ I think that’s a little shortsighted,” Nordstrom says.

What do you think about how Nordstrom is tapping social media and mobile tech to meet customers needs?

Mary Shaw