Buying With A Text

Are Nordstrom going to change the way we shop?


Nordstrom is one of the internet’s most dominant e-commerce platforms.

Lauded for its clear product pages and detailed size guides, Nordstrom now gets 21% of its revenue from e-commerce.

With its rivals, Macy’s and Net-A-Porter, looking to pump capital into the space, Nordstrom has no option but to plough forward with its aggressive development plans.

According to Fortune magazine, $1.5 billion is set to be invested in Nordstrom’s e-commerce business, with its recent endeavour, TextStyle, to be implemented in 116 of its American stores.

TextStyle opens up a new avenue for customers to purchase goods and is also Nordstrom’s first invention launched under the company’s revamped innovation strategy, which sees its central lab take a backseat whilst senior executives, who have a background in both tech and customer service, take on a more prominent role.

The new app has the air of a service which will either become popular very quickly, or fall almost straight into obscurity. Although most will simply text a salesperson a unique product code, the app allows the salesperson and the consumer to interact with one another as if they were in the store.

In the example screenshot, the conversation between the two play out like this;

Customer: ‘Hey, I really need a new pair of shoes for a party next weekend’

Salesperson: ‘I’ve got the right pair for you! These would go perfectly with that red dress of yours’

Nordstrom have stated that in-store associates will be texting customers, but it’s possible that at some stage automation will be brought in if demand were to get excessive - the example above seems to indicate that it might be automated, as the ‘red dress’ was perhaps something which was purchased before, allowing data to personalize messages even further.

Scott Jones, Nordstrom’s VP of Personalization, says that the app is a ‘step forward in our efforts to connect with customers on their terms’ and is clearly the act of a retailer that’s concentrating on maintaining its e-commerce dominance.

Although the app is unique, high-end Texan retailer, Neiman Marcus, gave all its 5,000 salespeople Apple iPhones so that they could text individual customers when a product of their liking had come into the store. Nordstrom’s prestige is similar to that of Neiman Marcus, but for retailers which operate in the lower-end of the market, there’s less need for this to happen.

A retailer, such as Primark, would have no need for this type of service, as people are not expecting a personalized service when they’re spending so little. Personalization is, however, key in the world of luxury brands to help with customer retention.

At the moment, Nordstrom are the only retailer in the United States which offer their customers this type of service, an achievement they hope will prolong their reputation as an innovative e-commerce retailer.


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