I remember sitting in on some presentations and panels at the recent Luxury Interactive event in NYC and hearing people talk about better aligning your e-commerce site with your brick and mortar stores to drive sales from each.
The argument being made was that many buyers shop online and then go into the store to buy, often finding the item is not available there. Or vice versa: the customer sees something in-store, goes home to shop online and it’s nowhere to be found.
According to this NYTimes article, Nordstrom is starting to listen to this advice and employed a new strategy which integrates the online shopping experience with the in-store experience. How it works? If a shopper is looking at an item on Nordstrom.com, s/he can see exactly which store has that item available and then reserve it for a same-day pickup in-store (which could, of course, encourage him/her to buy more while visiting the store). If the customer wanted to buy online and the web warehouse was out of the item, it would not matter as long as one of the retailer’s brick and mortar locations had it in stock because it would be arranged to be shipped from that store to the customer.
This is exactly the sort of thing we were discussing at the Luxury show. Retailers are still struggling to understand how and why the online arm of their business is so important since traditional methods of doing business have deep roots and often the upper management is comprised of an older generation of thinkers. But the tide is turning, as is evident with this development at Nordstrom.
Neiman Marcus was another high-end retailer in on the discussion at Luxury Interactive. Perhaps they will be next?