Nordstrom announced that it would be opening a new, inventory-free retail concept in Los Angeles, and people are wondering what does one do at an inventory-free store?
Why would a retailer known for 100,000+ square-foot stores filled to the brim with product feel compelled to open a boutique-size storefront with none?
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First of all, the location is prime: it is at the intersection of Melrose Place and Melrose Ave, on an extremely visible corner in a busy shopping area with neighbours like Marc Jacobs, Balmain, The Row, Isabel Marant, Alexander McQueen, Moon Juice and more.
It would be a strong option for a retailer looking for foot traffic, but that is not really what Nordstrom is after here.
The new concept, called Nordstrom Local, is billed as a “service hub,” facilitating services, including: buy online/pickup in store, returns, curbside pickup, alterations and tailoring, Trunk Club services, and personal styling, which requires making free appointments.
Appointments can be made online, by phone or in-person, and stylists are able to transfer merchandise from stores to Nordstrom local same-day.
All of these services are also available in traditional Nordstrom locations, and the Local opening coincided with that of the retailer’s new location at the recently refurbished Westfield Century City mall.
That location itself is equipped with a number of new and exclusive features, including a Nike boutique, the first West-Coast MAC Makeup Studio, and a Style Bar, where customers can enlist the free help of personal stylists to aid in the search of specific occasion outfits, entire wardrobes, gifts.
The Century City store will essentially work in tandem with Nordstrom Local, with the latter able to easily pull inventory from the former.
There is the pickup area lined with shelves holding online orders, as well as the alterations area (where customers are welcome to bring non-Nordstrom items, too). In the middle is a huge desk equipped with iPads, ideal for appointments with personal stylists. Behind that is a bar; a free drink comes with every service appointment.
The space is equipped with several fitting rooms in a variety of formats: There is one very large “VIP” fitting room; four fairly spacious fitting rooms with little lounge areas outside of them that can be closed off with curtains and are ideal for shopping with friends; and a couple of standard-size fitting rooms for if you’re just trying something on quickly to get an alteration or ensure it fits.
Nordstrom Local is absolutely an experiment on the part of Nordstrom; the retailer can and will see what its customers respond to and take it from there.
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Experimentation is, of course, what retailers have to do right now to survive. And for Nordstrom, that has meant focusing on what it has always done best, particularly succeeding in customer service.
Nordstrom hopes its customers will develop relationships with its personal stylists, whom they can text and interact with through a new Pinterest-like app called Style Boards.
For Nordstrom, those kinds of relationships have always driven sales. Whether that will still be the case in an environment devoid of its own inventory, we will have to wait and see.
(Source: Fashionista )