Nordstrom is Bringing Modern Technology and Old School Service Together at New Flagship

brought to you by WBR Insights

Omnichannel is the word of the day, with brands all over the world looking for ways to bring the digital and physical sides of retail together into single exemplary experiences for those who deign to walk through their doors.

Department store chain Nordstrom is the latest of these big brands to experiment with the different ways in which digital technology can break down the barriers between online and brick-and-mortar retail and augment the shopping experiences of its customers. With a mission statement of combining modern technology and old-fashioned customer service, these new innovations are set to create a new buzz around the Seattle-based Fortune 500 retailer.

New York

The first of these innovations takes the form of a brand-new flagship store. Located on Broadway, Manhattan, the 367,000 square foot store will open its doors in 2019.

The new location will come fully equipped with the latest in-store technology designed to offer a next-generation customer experience. The tech brings together the convenience of online shopping with the personal experience of physical retail, while the store itself has an open design and flexible floor plan, which will allow staff to respond with agility to the wants and needs of New York's discerning consumers.

One of the most interesting pieces of technology set to make an appearance at the new Nordstrom store is a made-to-order suit visualizer tool. With this exciting new technology, customers can scan various fabric swatches and generate a 3D-rendered image of what the finished suit will look like - taking the guesswork out of having a new suit tailored. They can then swap features in or out, and, once they are satisfied with the design, send it off to be made for real.

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Nordstrom is also introducing a new three-hour delivery service. Costing just $20, the service will allow customers to have their items - whether purchased in-store or online -delivered to an address of their choosing within three hours. The idea is to allow customers to pop into Nordstrom perhaps during their lunch breaks and not have to worry about lugging heavy bags around with them for the rest of the day. Self-serve kiosks at each street-level entrance will be there to make this service even more convenient.

"Customers who use both digital and in-store resources buy more and are happier with the experience," said Nordstrom's Chief Digital Officer and President of, Ken Worzel. "When we get customers to engage beyond one of our channels, their spend goes up dramatically, their engagement goes up dramatically and their satisfaction goes up dramatically."

Customers can also relax and consider their purchases in the store's fully-equipped bar or coffee shop.

Los Angeles

On the other side of the continent, in California, Nordstrom is also embarking on a project of experimentation with digital technology, putting a range of smartphone-focused initiatives to the test ahead of the opening of the New York store.

Nordstrom stylists can send fashion recommendations straight to a customer's smartphone, with customers able to contact the staff member directly though the app to have a conversation about their needs. If they like the look of anything they've been recommended, they can also reserve it and/or book a fitting using the app.

Customers are then routed to the nearest store, where they'll find a dressing room reserved for them and their choices already laid out ready to try on. A tablet in the dressing room lets customers summon an associate, request different sizes and/or colors, and pick out items they are ready to purchase using mobile payments.

The company has plans to roll the app service out to all 16 of its full-line Los Angeles stores, and we will no doubt see the same technology employed in the new flagship New York location as well.

"At its Investor Day gathering in Los Angeles, Nordstrom showed off its futuristic vision of the shopping experience as part of a greater plan to establish itself as the best fashion retailer in a digital world," writes General Assignment Reporter for GeekWire, Nat Levy. "Nordstrom is in the middle of a beta test with 800 people in its top market of Los Angeles to weave together smartphone-based shopping features with the in-store experience to speed up, what it calls, the customer journey."

Digital technology and unique omnichannel customer experiences are set to be hot discussion topics at Future Stores Miami 2019, taking place in February at the JW Marriot Miami, Florida.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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