Product and Service
I chose to review Nordstrom for my final Marketing project. Nordstrom is a store
that caters to a wide range of clientele and offers a selection including, but not limited to:
men and women’s apparel, shoes, home décor, infant and baby (ex: strollers, mother’s
needs), handbags, accessories, beauty, juniors apparel, kids apparel, intimates, athletic, and
specialty departments. They have also recently added in a department specifically
designated to the online site, Etsy.com, and now has a kiosk set up in-store offering clients
the ease of shopping through various local vendors.
Although Nordstrom is considered an upscale retailer, they are also known for
having ‘affordable luxury.’ This is one of the factors that allows the company to cater to
such a wide range of people with various incomes, and still continue to focus on selling a
broad selection of fashion-forward designs. With their multitude of products and services,
Nordstrom always centers what they offer around their valued customer, and can easily
play into the four service characteristics. Nordstrom offers plenty of tangible purchases
that allow the consumer to try out their product first-hand and experience before they buy
(such as trying on clothes, shoes, makeup, etc), but they also offer intangible products as
well, and that’s where the customer service that Nordstrom proudly offers plays its part.
From the beginning, John W. Nordstrom’s approach to business was “to provide
exceptional service, selection, quality, and value” and since 1901, Nordstrom has “been
committed to providing our customers with the best possible service-and to improving it
every day” (Nordstrom.com). This company prides itself very much on its attention to their
customers, follow up their service with an amazing return policy, and consistent personal
communication between sales representative and potential buyer. The key to making sales
with intangible items is to communicate, and Nordstrom does that very well. They employ
knowledgeable and personable sales representatives to communicate with the customer
personally about the product they are in the market to buy. Nordstrom also allows
consumers to leave reviews on their website, Nordstrom.com, and have those reviews also
available on their Nordstrom App for iPhone and Android users.
To continue, Nordstrom values their customers and wants them to continue to shop
at their stores and affiliated sales outlets. The company wants their consumer to be
inseparable from them, to consistently think of them when in the market to buy a specific
product or service. Nordstrom uses their outstanding customer service to bring their
customers back again and again. I can say that I am a shopper at Nordstrom personally, and
I have never had a bad experience when shopping online, in store, or speaking with any
customer service representatives online or on the phone. Knowing this is what keeps me
coming back, and their personable attitude toward their customers is what is remembered,
talked about, and in the end recommended. Nordstrom holds a standard for its employees,
regardless of which department, and knowing this keeps me, as a customer, satisfied. I can
only image Nordstrom would deal with any hiccup with a customer in the best manner
possible, and that definitely keeps me coming back.
Another successful tactic that Nordstrom possesses is that once a line of clothing has
been purchased, sold in store, and ran its course, it is moved from a main clothing rack, to a
‘Last Chance!’ rack, discounted (online and in-store), and then moved onto the Nordstrom
Rack sales floor, where it just might be discounted again. Nordstrom does a great job
regarding the perishability of their products. It’s a cycling process that allows them to
continue to evolve their fashion selections in stores and online, and is consistently moving.
This keeps the customers happy because there is a sale, but there is also room for new
fashion selections to make their way onto the sales floor. A constantly evolving selection is
what will keep old customers coming back, and new ones flowing in.
Lastly, Nordstrom takes into account the presence of variability. As a company,
Nordstrom relies on many different people, and also automated devices, and this is what
causes inconsistency. Nordstrom takes a huge amount of pride in their customer service, as
discussed previously, and training the employees to think in the Nordstrom mindset is
what helps them to become consistent. In order to be successful, Nordstrom needs to
develop relationships with their current customers, and consistently bring in new ones. To
be successful at such a thing, consistency is key, and every time Nordstrom is able to reach
out to a customer, they are developing that relationship. Be it a newsletter, online shopping
and online sales reps, or face-to-face contact in store, Nordstrom is continuously reaching
out, showing they are committed to the happiness of their customers. As a customer of
Nordstrom, I’m able to see that first hand, and the fact that they are committed to making
my experience a good one is something that will keep me around as a customer and
continue to be loyal to them.
Nordstrom has a very wide range of price points. This wide range makes it easier for
the company to respond to changes in the demands of the markets they participate in. To
give an example of the given range for a Nordstrom customer, I could go into any
Nordstrom store and buy a pair of sandals for $14.95, but if I wanted to, I could also hop
over to another section of the shoe department and buy a pair of designer Jimmy Choos for
$1500. These wide price points make it a lot easier for Nordstrom to stay relevant to their
loyal customers through the varying economic cycles. This is also a perk because
companies who fit a customer’s pricing needs tend to increase the loyalty of their customer
base, keeping their business consistently successful. Something that has recently been
added is the ability to price-match with their competitors, and adjust the sale price in-store
and online. As of 2014, Nordstrom has taken the suggestions of their consumers into
consideration and added in the price-match and adjusting factor. Online, the ones that have
been adjusted are marked so the consumer knows that they really are getting the best bang
for their buck. This is important because it retains customers that frequently look at other
sale outlets and are constantly looking for the ‘best’ price. Sales adjustments are available
to customers if they take the initiative to approach an employee or online representative,
and a week after purchasing an item, if it goes on sale, the customer is able to collect the
difference. This makes the customer feel like they aren’t being mistreated and are being
given the best service possible, thus retaining them as a loyal client. Nordstrom also offers
a very generous return policy, making sure their customers are consistently satisfied, even
after they’ve left the store.
Another important factor regarding the varying prices Nordstrom has to offer is
how they are organized as a store. Nordstrom keeps their departments sectioned off so
there is an ease of locating a specific product to the customer. This allows the customer to
see what price bracket might work for that specific shopping trip. Each department is
portrayed to the customer to give them the feel of being in a very high fashion place,
regardless of the price bracket chosen. And for those who can’t quite afford the
departments in the Nordstrom store, they have the ability to visit a Nordstrom Rack for
clothing and accessories that have moved from the full store to the Rack at a discounted
price. No matter how a customer is shopping at a Nordstrom store or an affiliate, they are
consistently surrounded by the latest fashions for the best value.
Nordstrom also offers five designated sales per year. Four are Half-Yearly sales,
which are semi-annually, and are split by department, and the largest sale that Nordstrom
has to offer is the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, held in each July. This is a time where
Nordstrom shoppers get sneak peeks for the upcoming season, and customers who belong
in the reward program (see Promotion category), are able to make appointments with the
sales associates to shop the sale earlier than a non-rewards member (Nordstrom.com).
Nordstrom is very fashion-forward and tends to bring out the next season earlier than
other retailers. In preparation for the new season’s items, consistent sales are held to make
room for more merchandise. This concept consistently brings in more customers in store
and online. Nordstrom uses the impression from their customers to determine their pricing
of items. Value-based pricing is very important within their company because they want
their customers to know that they are being taken into consideration when pricing a
product. A product is not priced because other stores sell it for that amount of money, and
that is another reason why Nordstrom continues to be a successful company.
The graph shown on the following page can give the reader an idea of the success
Nordstrom has had with their sales, pricing, marketing, and promotional tactics in their
second quarter of sales in 2013 compared to an unnamed full-line boutique competitor and
an unnamed full-price clothing store.
Nordstrom has multiple promotional outlets to get their product out to the
consumer on a consistent basis. My first thought would be how strong their social
marketing is. Partnered with their strong customer service and experience, this is the
centerpiece of their marketing strategy. Social and customer service isn’t just a new way of
marketing, it’s a new way of running a business and Nordstrom has figured out exactly how
to do it.
Nordstrom uses an Integrated Marketing Communications program by using
multiple promotional methods across the board. Nordstrom currently has a very active
presence on social media; they’re included, but not limited to, the following sites: Twitter,
Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat, and Google+. They are also very
consistent with their newsletter (I get it daily for The Rack and Nordstrom), and even have
ads located in websites such as Facebook, especially if you’ve recently been online at
Nordstrom.com or Nordstromrack.com. The tone is a mild one in my perspective; in no way
does Nordstrom make the customer feel pressured to only shop there. I feel like they’re
great at suggesting related products with their promotional ads, and I feel like that’s the
best way to reach out to an audience. They have a very happy feel and tend to go with the
seasons and sales, just to keep the customer informed, and I love that! I always like
knowing when my shoes are going to go on sale, and I can count on Nordstrom to let me
know. With their newsletters via email, I feel like they can reach a wider ranged audience,
but as their social media presence continues to grow, I see that as a very successful outlet
as well. I follow Nordstrom on Twitter, and something I really like as a consumer is I can
tweet to Nordstrom, and each time I’ve done that, I’ve gotten a response specific to me.
Knowing that I can reach out to them in multiple outlets for information on sales and they
can reach out to me for my needs makes me feel more inclined to shop there.
They have also recently added for employees the ability to have their own specific
Pinterest. Say if a customer really liked the style opinions and help they got from a sales
associate or stylist in the store, they would be able to access Pinterest for up-to-date ideas
on how to style their outfits without having to necessarily contact that associate. Ease of
access to their employees and promotions is something that makes a customer more
inclined to shop at Nordstrom, and I can say that from specific experience.
A definite perk for being a customer at Nordstrom is their rewards program. They
offer a choice of a Visa for use at Nordstrom and other sales outlets to gain points, or a
direct-from-checking-account Debit Card for earning points as well. I personally have the
Nordstrom debit card and I can say that it was such a great decision to get! Nordstrom
offers double, triple, and quadruple points at specific times throughout the course of their
sales seasons. And when you have reached a certain amount of points, you are rewarded
with a Nordstrom Note in the form of a certificate for $20, good to spend at Nordstrom or
Nordstrom Rack. This reward happens each time you reach that goal of points. The rewards
program also offers you early access to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, and allows the
customer to make an appointment with an associate (free of charge) to see what the sale
has to offer. This is especially beneficial because this way you avoid crowds, and get to see
everything the sale has to offer before it hits the public’s eyes.
Nordstrom also participates in snail-mail to reach out to their customers, and that is
something I like because I often forget when I can use my points for the rewards program,
and they send reminder postcards when they will be offering double/triple/quadruple
points. These promotions keep their company a success, and also plays into the word of
mouth promotional aspect because I could take that postcard, show a friend, so on and so
I haven’t generally seen Nordstrom use celebrities to work into a promotional
aspect, other than in the makeup and perfume l can understand that because it’s that
specific person’s line. Nordstrom focuses more on the product than the person behind it,
and uses the product they’re trying to sell, along with other related products to directly sell
to the consumer.
Nordstrom is offered on multiple channel levels, much like their presence within
promotion. Products pertaining to Nordstrom is distributed within the main stores,
Nordstrom Rack, Hautelook (an online-only, member-only auction site), Trunkclub.com
and their 5 Clubhouses ( a personalized men’s clothing service hand-selected by stylists),
Nordstrom App on iPhone and Android, Nordstrom.com, 2 Jeffrey Boutiques, and 1
discounted store (much like Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack). Nordstrom has 292 stores in
38 states, with 115 full line stores in the United States, 167 Nordstrom Racks, and 2
Nordstrom locations in Canada. Nordstrom is available in 96 different countries, and is
projected to reach a totally of 300 stores by 2020 (Nordstrom.com).
Nordstrom leads a life of indirect channel distribution because they have so many
levels on which they sell. They need to be able to reach all channels, so there is a
middleman involved, especially for any overseas selling. They need to be able to distribute
their product, and adding in a middleman eases the tension that would be put solely on
Nordstrom as a company. Adding in the middleman also adds a good deal of extra costs,
and ultimately it’s the consumer that takes care of it. Fortunately for Nordstrom, its
consumers are willing to help cover those costs in order to keep experiencing their
products, and that will continue to keep Nordstrom expanding and being a successful
company of the past, present, and future.
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