Innovación: Nordstrom execs hope latest mobile launches will drive store traffic
Nordstrom has launched three new mobile features since June to enhance the shopping experience and drive more trips into physical stores.
It’s a move by the Seattle retailer to address technology costs and combat declining traffic, as Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN) executives noted last week while discussing their most recently quarterly financial results.
“Mall traffic is down anywhere (from) 4 percent to 5 percent based on a bunch of different reports that we see and that’s pretty consistent with how our trends have been,” Nordstrom President of Stores Jamie Nordstrom told analysts on a conference call Thursday. “We’re looking forward to continuing to drive some reasons for customers to come visit our stores and maybe buck some of these trends going forward.”
Nordstrom has struggled to balance online and in-store sales. E-commerce now represents 20 percent of Nordstrom’s business – up from 8 percent five years ago – but has caused expenses to grow faster than sales in recent years.
Nordstrom executives say new initiatives such as June’s release of “Store Mode” and “Visual Search” will address some of those increased costs while driving store traffic.
Store Mode allows customers to identify their favorite store and toggle between all Nordstrom inventory and items available at their preferred store to check in-store inventory. For Visual Search, Nordstrom partnered with the Canadian company Slyce to allow customers to take a photo of something and match it with items that can be found at Nordstrom.
In October, Nordstrom launched the Reserve & Try pilot in Seattle-area stores. The feature allows customers to select merchandise on their phone and have it placed in a dressing room for them in the store.
“We know that’s how lots of our customers have been shopping, but they start online and when they go in the store and want to actually see it, touch it, feel it, try it on, they have to start over,” Nordstrom Co-president Erik Nordstrom said. “This allows them not to start over.”
“It is about making the shopping experience easier and we know that the mobile device is never usually far,” Shea Jensen, vice president of customer experience at Nordstrom, said in an interview.
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