business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The Wall Street Journal reports that Nordstrom plans to open a new format in West Hollywood, California, “ that is a fraction of the size of its typical locations, where shoppers will be able to enjoy services such as manicures and on-site tailoring. Something it won’t carry: clothes.”

At 3,000 square feet, the store - called Nordstrom Local - “will contain eight dressing rooms, where shoppers can try on clothes and accessories, though the store won’t stock them. Instead, personal stylists will retrieve goods from nine Nordstrom locations in Los Angeles, or through its website. The stylists can also pull together looks for shoppers through a ‘style board’ app … In addition to manicures, Nordstrom Local shoppers will be able to order wine, beer, coffee or juice from an in-store bar, and those who place orders on by 2 p.m. can pick them up there that day. They will also be able to return items at the store that they bought online or from other Nordstrom locations. Tailors will be available for alterations or to help members of Trunk Club, an online clothing service that Nordstrom acquired in 2014, select fabrics for custom garments.”

I usually write that retailers need to be a resource for shoppers in addition to being a source of product, but this sort of takes it beyond even what I was thinking.

But then again … this is an interesting approach for Nordstrom, which has said that it still plans to open traditional stores. It allows Nordstrom to create a presence even in places where it does not have big stores, as well as find different off-ramps from the so-called “last mile” between its operations and the shopper.

What’s interesting is that I was just reading a piece in Re/code in which Scott Galloway - professor of marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business, and founder of digital intelligence firm L2, about whom I reported when he spoke at MyWebGrocer’s recent Customer Days event - predicted that Nordstrom is a likely next acquisition for Amazon.

You can read that story here.

And it occurs to me that Nordstrom Local is the kind of innovation that almost might make Nordstrom more attractive to Amazon… the kind of innovation that, if it works, could be scalable and would fit right into Amazon’s plans.

Which is my idea of an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: