As shopping continues to shift away from brick-and-mortar-stores to e-commerce, Nordstrom is investing in technology to connects its physical stores to digital.
Specifically, Blake Nordstrom, the company’s co-president, announced plans to expand a “Reserve Online and Try in Stores” option from a handful of stores in Seattle to Chicago, immediately, and then to Nordstrom stores in all 50 states.
The company also added a feature to its mobile app that allows shoppers to scan an item in-store, but fulfill the order online. This is handy in cases where they want a different color or size than what’s in stock, for example.
Traditional retailers have experimented, but been generally slow to adapt their businesses around e-commerce and mobile shopping behavior.
Meanwhile, Amazon is ramping its efforts in apparel. It already has a $3.4 billion share of a $200 billion apparel market in the U.S., and realized a 25 percent increase in apparel sales last year, compared to industry-wide growth of just 3 percent, according to One Click Retail estimates.
Now, it’s becoming common for retailers to allow site users to buy online and pick up items in stores. But few retailers also allow users to shop from their phones within stores like Nordstrom is doing, or to reserve items just to try them on.
According to Ernst & Young analysis conducted for the National Retail Federation, U.S. retail is expected to grow between 3.7 and 4.2 percent this year, while online and non-store sales are expected to grow more rapidly, between 8 and 12 percent.