Nordstrom's efforts to improve the customer experience range from its $180 million acquisition of private sale site HauteLook to Twitter-happy employees who DM clients when new products arrive -- plus some savvy innovations unseen to the buying eye.
Jamie Nordstrom, president-Nordstrom Direct, has led the specialty retailer into a new fulfillment capability that weaves store inventories into the web inventory, making it possible for a customer in New Jersey, for example, to locate and purchase a dress that may be out of stock in the tri-state area but plentiful in California. It's a disarmingly simple strategy but one that is unique in the industry and has led to major sales gains.
Meanwhile, Sam Hogenson, VP-business information, is leading the charge on many of Nordstrom's smart technology investments, such as WiFi for all of its stores, thousands of handheld devices with checkout functionality and a mobile-optimized version of its site. It's been testing e-receipts, as well, and there's a mobile app in development. Nordstrom has committed to spend more than $70 million on technology efforts in 2011, 60% of that for "customer-facing" investments, specifically earmarked to improve the customer experience. Oh, and did we mention Twitter-happy employees like @NordstromDave, who, incidentally was recently tapped to work in Nordstrom's flagship and is now tweeting via @NordstromSEA.