In this exclusive interview with Shea Jensen, Vice President of Customer Experience at Nordstrom, Retail TouchPoints delves into the brand’s new mobile and digital initiatives.
Acknowledging that Nordstrom shoppers are looking for a better digital experience, the department store retailer has implemented a number of updates to the branded app. “We’re continually looking at ways that technology can support evolving how we serve our customers, who increasingly want a digital shopping experience,” said Jensen.
During a time when department stores are facing financial and business challenges, Nordstrom is hoping to better engage shoppers. “We want to serve customers on their terms, and we know they are increasingly looking for a more personalized and convenient shopping experience,” Jensen said. “Mobile is an important way that we can bring those experiences to life, and make it easier for our customers to connect and shop with us. We hope by introducing additional functionality through our app, we can combine the convenience of shopping online with a quick and efficient in-store experience.”
What’s next for Nordstrom? “We’re always looking for new ways to serve customers and technology continues to play an important role in that,” Shea stated.
The latest new mobile app capabilities are being tested during the crucial holiday season. Nordstrom, like a number of other retailers, is closed on Thanksgiving Day, “as they always have been,” Jensen said.
Store Mode, Visual Search Highlight App Advancements
The most recent updates include four key components, according to Jensen:
- Store Mode: “We launched store mode at the end of June. The feature allows customers to set a preferred store and seamlessly toggle between all Nordstrom inventory and items available at their preferred store. We’ve heard from our customers that store availability is one of their favorite components of the app, so store mode takes that a step further and makes it even easier for them to shop their favorite store.”
- Visual Search: “This feature also launched in June. We’ve partnered with visual search company Slyce to offer customers technology that can identify direct or closely matching items from Nordstrom’s product offering by simply taking a photo. By scanning a barcode or QR code, or snapping a catalog image, customers will be taken directly to the corresponding product or page.”
- Reserve & Try On In Store: “This launched and we’ve heard great things from customers so far. Customers who use the Nordstrom app will have an option to select items to reserve for try on in-store. The rollout of this feature will begin with our six Western Washington locations (including downtown Seattle). Customers will be able to select items available at their preferred location to be held for them in a fitting room and available at their convenience to try on.”
Initial results of the trial have been positive: “Customers at the six locations that are piloting the rollout have responded positively to the offering so far,” Shea noted. “We are still very early in the program and look forward to hearing more in the coming weeks and months.”
- Nordstrom for iMessage: “Now available to customers who have upgraded to Apple’s iOS 10 software and have the latest iPhone Nordstrom app installed, this feature allows customers to search and share Nordstrom products without leaving their text message conversation. Recipients who have an Android device or earlier versions of the iPhone operating system, like iOS 9, will still get the product image and a product link for more details. This makes sharing your favorite finds as easy as sending a photo.”
Leadership Changes Reflect Evolving Customer Needs
Prior to announcing the new mobile initiatives, in September 2016 Nordstrom announced a strategic shift of leadership responsibilities to better support the full- and off-price brands (Nordstrom Rack) across stores and digital.
The company appointed Ken Worzel as President, Nordstrom.com. Worzel has served as Executive Vice President of Strategy and Development at the company since 2010, where he has been responsible for strengthening the company’s competitive position and relevance through developing and executing customer-driven strategies to support the company’s growth. Prior to Nordstrom he worked as a consultant, including partnering with Nordstrom for 13 years while at Marakon Associates and McKinsey & Company.
“Through his six years as a leader at Nordstrom and many years prior to that working alongside our executive team, Ken has gained a deep understanding of how our e-Commerce, digital and mobile efforts play an integral role in providing customers a differentiated experience through service, personalization and convenience,” said Erik Nordstrom, co-president of Nordstrom in a statement. “Ken comes into this position with expertise around Nordstrom.com’s current position and a strong vision for its future potential that will continue to bring the company a tremendous amount of value as we evolve our strategy and build on our success.”
The company also announced a strategic shift of leadership responsibilities. New assignments include:
- Co-President Erik Nordstrom will now be responsible for the Nordstrom brand, including Nordstrom stores, Nordstrom.com, and Trunk Club as well as Customer Care, Marketing and Supply Chain.
- Co-President Blake Nordstrom will be responsible for the Nordstrom Rack brand, including Rack stores and NordstromRack.com/HauteLook and other corporate functions including Finance, Technology, Legal and Human Resources.
- Co-President Pete Nordstrom will continue to support all of the company’s merchandising functions and Store Planning. He will also remain closely involved in all areas impacting the Nordstrom brand, including marketing.