It’s easy to see that retail, especially shoe and apparel retail, is an extremely competitive business. The choices seem endless and continue to increase. The distinguishing characteristics are the same as most other industries. Retailers establish their market with quality, price, selection, availability and service. While Nordstrom strives to provide quality merchandise, relevant and diverse selection, availability and accessibility, the real differentiator for the company is to provide the best service possible.
In the traditional retail business model, making sure each customer left the store with a great feeling about the interaction and level of care that they received was obviously a much different proposition than it is today. Customers can order and receive merchandise from the virtual store Nordstrom.com without ever setting foot in a store, without ever talking with a Nordstrom employee, without receiving any of the “personal touch” that built the Nordstrom business. Obviously great customer experience can still be translated in the retail digital space, through touch points such as an easy to navigate website that is engaging, reliable and offers filter options, and merchandise delivery that arrives on time and in the condition expected. For Nordstrom, social media has provided a means to connect with customers and potential customers who might otherwise not fully realize the Nordstrom dedication to a great customer experience.
Social media has also provided a way for Nordstrom to gain fun and coolness factor, as evidenced in this video posted in Nordstrom Facebook, Twitter and YouTube feeds today:
A few things about the coolness factor of this video – The irony of using a song by the artist Macklemore whose current hit song “Thrift Shop” eschews actually purchasing high-dollar threads is quite delicious. Also, Nordstrom, who announced support of gay marriage earlier this year, feature same-sex couples in their wedding finery. Social media in this one post has allowed the company to not only showcase the Nordstrom Wedding Suite (a new-ish wedding department), but to publicly take a stand on a very turbulent topic.
Social media is also a very strong marketing tool for the company, helping to bring a spotlight on services, events or departments that might slide under the radar of many customers if not for a mention in a social media feed. Social media has recently been used to spotlight various designers, beauty trends and events such as surprise celebrity visits. And then there is the obvious use of feedback to get perceptions of changes in the store – if the Christmas décor is not well-received for instance. Posts have also been used to bring customers into the store, such as:
Find your new foundation for spring: #FREE sample of ANY foundation in-store today! #SampleSpotlight http://cot.ag/13Psp0v
Nordstrom has responded to the immediacy and power of social media by developing a team that deals only with social media response, which is online almost 24 hours a day. In creating this team, Nordstrom is following through with its tenet that each customer should have a good experience and response time to perceived customer unhappiness is currently down to an average of less than four hours.
Every woman needs to go get fitted at @Nordstrom! My specialist totally made my day and the whole Nordstrom crew was so sweet!
Stayed up late looking through the @nordstrom fall catalog. Key reading in a city where fall lasts 8 months 😉
Of course, my lipstick red Joan & David pumps I bought from @nordstrom kept me comfortable & stylish all nite. Love them.
I thought this myself the other day… RT @Crys_ Is @Nordstrom the last place left to experience exquisite service?
went to the @nordstrom at the @ShopNorthBridge today. my son got his first shoe shine!
I’m kind of loving my $10 shades I got at The Rail @Nordstrom. Beats breaking/losing another pair of Ray Bans.
Nothing worse than buying a dress for a party that night and finding a hole after you leave home, heading back to @Nordstrom in the morning.
I guess there really is a first time for everything… : ( very unhappy face @Nordstrom… #devastated
Wowed by @nordstrom customer service! Walked in with a shoe strap coming unhinged, walked out with a brand new pair of tory’s! #wowfactor