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Hyper-convenience: Nordstrom’s ‘reserve online, try in-store’ service

 

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At the Online Retailer event last month, the general manager of Home Clearance, Adam Jones said something that stuck with me: “Customers don’t choose to shop digital, they choose to shop easy.”

This idea is becoming increasingly important in retail. We are constantly told that shoppers today are time poor and demand convenience. They want to make purchases when and where is best for them—just look at the boom in on demand food delivery services and Uber.

With this in mind, retailers are attempting to make it as easy as possible for customers to shop with them, whether this is online, in-store or both.

North American department store Nordstrom has taken the concept of convenience and run with it. The retailer is continually looking at ways technology can support the shopper experience. It currently offers click & collect, curbside pick up, and ‘style boards’ that allow sales staff to create digital boards filled with personalised style recommendations that customers can view on their phone and then purchase through the retailer’s website.

The most interesting development is Nordstrom’s ‘reserve online & try in-store’ service, which has just expanded to nearly 40 stores across the US. Using the Nordstrom mobile app customers can reserve items online before heading to a bricks-and-mortar store to try them on.

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Nordstrom reserve online

The customer receives a text notification when the items have been located and are ready to try on, along with another notification when they get to the store telling them where they can find the dedicated dressing room with their name and items.

As a shopping tragic this service is something I find genuinely exciting. The idea of browsing online during my morning commute and being able to pop in-store at lunch to try and (probably) buy ticks all my shopping boxes.

There’s the convenience of online without having to count the days until the parcel arrives, the satisfaction of trying before buying, and the gratification that comes from walking out of a store with a brand new purchase.

And it seems I’m not alone in seeing this service as a genius move. In fact, when Nordstrom tested it in six stores in 2016 the results were impressive, with 80 per cent of shoppers who tried it continuing to use the service multiple times.

Shea Jensen, senior vice president of customer experience at Nordstrom, said the service is a way to bridge the gap between online and in-store.

“Many of our customers like to feel and try on clothes and shoes before they purchase them and we’re excited to offer them a more convenient way to do so,” she said.

In the future, we can only assume that more retailers will invest in similar omnichannel experiences, even though they can be difficult and costly to implement. After all, it if shoppers are demanding convenience, retailers better deliver.

 

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