Nordstrom: Retailers Need a Focus on Customer Engagement

Sep 13, 2012 9:57 PM  By

The future of customer experience does not lie solely at the hands of ecommerce, said Jamie Nordstrom, president of Nordstrom Direct. It calls for retailers to focus on creating the finest customer engagement both online and in the traditional store space.

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Speaking Tuesday at the National Retail Federation’s Shop.org Annual Summit in Denver, Nordstrom said although the majority of Nordstrom’s future lies in ecommerce, it doesn’t mean the end of its traditional stores, and shouldn’t be the end of yours either.

At this point in the game, Nordstrom said, retailers need to be “best in class in stores and best in class online.”

Nordstrom’s comments echoed those of Toys R Us chairman and CEO Jerry Storch from a day earlier at the conference in which he said the bricks-and-mortar is not a dying breed.

So, how does Nordstrom, which has 234 stores in 31 states, master the omnichannel space? It all comes down to evolving with your customer. Retailers should focus on interacting with customers where, how and when they want , whether it is online or in a brick-and-mortar store.

Interactive stores
The experience inside a bricks-and-mortar is the perfect way to make a customer feel like they are getting a personalized shopping experience. At Nordstrom’s, he said, they are offering persona stylists to focus on the one-on-one customer engagement and investing in in-store technology which Norstrom said could mean swapping cash registers for mobile payment systems.

“In the foreseeable future we will not have cash registers in our store,” he said.

Nordstrom also said that retailer is not done expanding its store space. The company will soon open a new department store in New York City and announced today it will open stores to Canada beginning in fall 2014.

Going social
Nordstrom, which has been in business for 110 years, has focused heavily on reaching out to its customers through social media. On Facebook the company has 1.6 million likes, 1.7 million followers on Pinterest, and nearly 200,000 followers on Twitter. Social media sites, he said, are perfect ways to interact with the customer, not just use the sites to push products or coupons. Nordstrom said the best way to look at social media is as an extension of your customer service.

“It allows us to do what we have always done,” he said, sites like Twitter is allowing the customer to spread the brand through word of mouth, just in a different way. In fact, Nordstrom said, at one point the companies Twitter account was shut down due to sending out too many tweets answering customer’s questions.

“The customer is completely in control. The retailers who are embracing that are going to thrive,” he said.

NEXT PAGE: Jamie Nordstrom’s Shop.org session on Storify