Nordstrom opening merchandise-free concept

Nordstrom opening merchandise-free concept

So far, the new Nordstrom concept, dubbed Nordstrom Local, is limited to one store in the Los Angeles area. A story by the Associated Press describes Amazon's opening of physical bookstores, many of which don't stock books, as a way to connecting with those customers who still shop at retail outlets.

Another deviation from a typical Nordstrom department store, and your regular retailer, is that Nordstrom Local won't have any clothes in stock.

"Shopping today may not always mean going to a store and looking at a vast amount of inventory", Shea Jensen, Nordstrom's senior vice president of customer experience, told The Wall Street Journal. If you realize that you need something to wear for that party tonight where your ex is maybe going to be and you are struggling with a bout of violently hating every garment you now own, you can place an order off Nordstrom's website by 2 pm and pick it up the same day (they'll even car-hop your purchases out to the curb for you because they understand that you can't possibly have time to park at moments like these).

The concept store is set to open October 3 in West Hollywood, Calif. Brick-and-mortar locations are still where most purchases happen, and they're invaluable as ways to acquire new customers and keep existing ones. Discounted clothing from Nordstrom Rack won't be available at the hubs. Among its services, the new Nordstrom will offer *free* personal styling, alterations, trunk club services, manicures (!), and on-site refreshments (aka wine and beer). In March, Urban Outfitters CEO Richard Hayne pointed out that the U.S. is "oversaturated with retail space, and far too much of that space is occupied by stores selling apparel". It is opening a department store at the end of this week in Toronto.

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Of course, this is still an experiment, and it's unclear whether it will pay off.

While the 3,000 square foot space (tiny compared to the retailer's 140,000-square foot flagship stores) will have no apparel to buy on site, the personal stylists on hand can fetch items from nearby stores or order them online, according to the report.

If nothing else, Nordstrom Local could be a valuable testing ground for Nordstrom to observe shoppers in the wild and figure out what they want. She also said that there are no plans to open similar shops at this time. Ultimately it's them-not the investors-that Nordstrom most needs to please.

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