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Nordstrom boosts omnichannel, rolls out Reserve Online & Try In Store

As retailers work hard to attract shoppers in-store, and luxury retailers in particular try to make the online experience more, well, luxurious, Nordstrom is expanding its Reserve Online & Try In Store service to around 40 locations.

Retailers across product categories are still working out how to keep their stores relevant while making the most of e-sales and also how to differentiate the e-buying experience to focus on personal service.

To that end the high-end retailer tested its new concept in six stores and has clearly been pleased with the results. It allows shoppers to select items online and try them on in person at their nearest Nordstrom store, combining the “convenience of shopping online with an efficient and personalised in-store experience.”

And, of course, it also offers benefits to the retailer as it minimises returns and gives it the chance to sell more products while the customer is in the store.

Shoppers are now able to reserve the items via the retailer’s mobile app and will then receive a text notification when their items have been found at their nearest store and are ready to try on, as well as a text notification when they get to the store letting them know where they can find the dedicated dressing room with their name and selected items.

The company said that during the pilot phase in the Washington area, 80% of shoppers who tried Reserve Online & Try In Store continued to use the service multiple times. And with it rolling out to a larger number of stores now, the chain plans to continue expanding it over the next year.

Nordstrom has been very active in using technology to support the customer shopping experience. It offers several services that allow customers to shop on their own terms in a convenient way such as Scan & Shop and Curbside Pickup, as well as the more widely adopted click-and-collect. It also recently launched Style Boards, a mobile tool that allows salespeople to create digital boards filled with personalised style recommendations which customers can view on their phone and purchase from nordstrom.com.

The launch of the new Reserve Online & Try In Store service also comes as retailers across the price scale work out ways to deal with the issue of consumers needing to order large numbers of items online in order to find the right one. This creates a huge logistics issue around returns with large amounts of inventory potentially out of the stores/warehouses for weeks on end.

While Nordstrom’s new service hopes to overcome that problem, other retailers don’t seem to be so concerned about sending out large orders that might not result in more than one item being sold. Amazon recently said it would embrace the idea of customers over-ordering by introducing a Prime Wardrobe, its try-before-you-buy service that’s available to Prime members.