At a time when department stores are closing in New York (like Barney’s) and elsewhere in the United States (GAP, Century 21, Victoria’s Secret), the Nordstrom brand has decided to open two new department stores in 3 years.
At the end of October, the luxury retailer opened a new flagship store in the Big Apple, a seven-storey, 30,000 m² space dedicated to women.
The store is Nordstrom’s latest attempt to expand in New York, which claims the city is its largest market for e-commerce in the United States. Nordstrom therefore wants to be “locally” and physically anchored to affirm this trend. In September, the retailer also opened Nordstrom Local stores focusing solely on its services, with no merchandise to buy.
The store occupies the base of the Central Park Tower. It’s located across the street from Nordstrom’s men’s store, which opened last year.
The store has a full floor dedicated to women’s shoes, a sports shoe store in partnership with Nike, an interactive beauty department with perfume detector and virtual mirrors for beauty stylists like at Mac Cosmetics in China.
The flagship location also houses seven restaurants and services, such as Click & Collect, on-site online ordering terminals, in-store packaging (e.g. product customization) and the designer’s lounge. However, not all sales staff are connected with mobile tools but are equipped with headsets.
The brand has 10,000 handbags and small leather goods, 10,000 lipstick choices, 6,000 pairs of jeans and more than 200 brands in store. With 100,000 pairs of shoes on the shelves, it’s a paradise for shoe fans. Partner brands include an Everlane pop-up store, a Nike store with velvet walls and a Burberry store with its own tea room.
The layout of the place is its main quality. The place is much more spacious and open than most department stores, with its chain mail curtains that delimit the designer shops.
Similarly, the wave-shaped glass facade allows natural light to fill the interior environment. It also symbolizes the brand’s attachment to the West Coast and Seattle, the brand’s native city.
Discover new brands
But you’ll also find a large number of younger, lesser-known brands that are gaining popularity thanks to the success of their online activities. Birdies‘sballerinas, Reform’s dresses, Kendra Scott‘s jewellery and Dirty Lemon’s collagen and charcoal drinks in the store’s cafés.
Nordstrom has succeeded in getting these young brands in store to attract customers who are increasingly curious but are happy to have a trusted third party (here, the store) to guide them towards new brands. This approach gives Nordstrom a competitive edge where department stores are struggling to attract customers to their outlets.
Nordstrom Local in store
Nordstrom has also opened new format stores in Los Angeles and New York, the Nordstrom Local stores. The concept? Bringing customers all the services they can’t get by buying online. Touch-ups, styling, advice and product returns are thus offered to customers in these small spaces.
The same concept has been introduced in the Nordstrom Women, on several floors.
- A bar and product return service is provided by scanning the label and depositing the product in these connected boxes.
- The “stylist lounge” to talk fashion with experts.
- A tailor for your touch-ups.
Eating and drinking
Nordstrom has always been proud of its culinary offerings and, according to the store, one out of every four transactions comes from food and beverages. So it’s no surprise to see that this new temple of shopping includes 4 restaurants, 2 bars and coffees.
And to combine food and luxury, Nordstrom offers its customers the option of having their meal or drink delivered wherever they are in the store. A customer waiting in the fitting room for a new dress size can order the right size and a glass of champagne or a dish from a list of 8 suggestions from the store. These are quick snacks of course.
For those who prefer a restaurant, there are 4 of them, including Bistro Verde, Jeannie’s or Hani Pacific and its open kitchens.
To rehydrate yourself, you can go to the Shoe Bar in the shoe department. Perfect place to discuss the pair of boots you are trying on.
For those gentlemen, there is also a bar with television where you can follow the sports news on ESPN.
Be careful, however, not to leave the delimited areas to consume alcohol.
Brand curation and pop-up stores by Nordstrom
In this huge place, the brands are of course very present and the partnerships around pop-up stores in stores are also very developed, like the one set up with the Everlane brand. This brand is exploding in the United States and hopes to increase its visibility thanks to this partnership with Nordstrom.
These spaces, animated by the brand’s staff, will be used for a few weeks before giving way to another brand. The interest of this strategy is to offer Nordstrom’s customers a store that evolves and promotes the brands that move the most in the United States.
Nordstrom’s other tool for vibrating its store is brand curation. Nordstrom has opened two stores in the mall. On the programme “curation” and design. Thus, on the ground floor, a Nordstrom x Nike store was opened.
Same thing with Burberry! Nordstrom’s purchasing department went shopping and opened a mini shop in the store dedicated to Burberry. You can even have tea in a revamped coffee shop.
Both stores are run and managed by Nordstrom employees. In a few weeks, a new curation of products of another brand will be displayed (and sold).
Admire works of art
One of the most striking features of the store is its space. Seven floors of point of sale and the possibility to mix works of art, from strikingly designed installations to the biggest designer brands.