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How Nordstrom uses innovation and activations to drive sartorial results

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Nordstrom wants more of his clients’ closets.

We’ve been working hard over the past year at 18 months to really establish our offering to create an assortment that covers active orientation, athleisure, outdoor, work, dresswear, occasion and fashion, said Shea Jensen, EVP retailers. and GMM of Women’s and Men’s Clothing.

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She noted that the company uses a significant amount of analytics to inform its strategy. Our ambition is above all to have an incredibly relevant assortment. We want to have a collection of the best brands in the world and also [names] who are new and emerging [to] creating a sense of discovery for customers in stores and online, Jensen said.

According to the executive, Nordstrom has 10 markets that serve a disproportionate number of customers and generate a disproportionate amount of its volume.

She noted that the retailer aims to have a compelling selection across all stages of life and across all price points. For example, Nordstrom uses analytics to restock its offering for plus size women. Meeting the demands of the millennial population, the largest demographic group in North America today, is another priority. We recognize an opportunity to bring much younger brands into our plus size offering, Jensen said.

Creating collaborations with brands is an important way for Nordstrom not only to show a great product and stand out, but also to tell a compelling story. For example, the retailer has partnered with Rag & Bone to create a New York-style grocery store in its flagship store in Manhattan.

Over the past few months, Nordstrom has created 360-degree activations across all of its touchpoints to celebrate the history of the product. Last April, the company supported sustainability and Earth Month by collaborating with Ganni, the Danish brand, and expanding its in-store offering. The month-long pop-up featured activities and stories around Gannis’ key responsibility projects and brand values. Activations, limited and exclusive products and special capsules were presented in major markets.

The retailer followed that up with an activation of Free People, celebrating the summer everyone had lost and redeveloping for the summer. This included dresses, rompers, tops, shorts and headbands designed to pack up and head to the shore or the beach, available in New York’s flagship, online and at 10 select stores.

Nordstrom continues to build on the close relationships it has with its strategic partners, including leading brands such as Nike and Tory Burch, global luxury partners such as LVMH Mot Hennessy Louis Vuitton and emerging brands such as Good American .

When asked how important it is to be on the cutting edge of technology, Jensen replied: We [consider it] across the spectrum. If you think of New York, it is certainly one of the most iconic and important fashion cities in the world. And we want to have an incredible manifestation of our offer in this city. We must have an assortment that serves the latest fashion edge and the latest runway [and also offer] what clients will wear on their day off.

Being a store that offers discovery is paramount, and Jensen said his shoppers are always on the lookout for novelty. This is something our teams work hard on every day. We scour social networks, we do a lot of competitive shopping, we listen to the market with our partners who give life to new brands.

Discussing some of the brands the retailer has discovered, Jensen cited the Black, Native and Color (BIPOC) brands he has worked with over the past year.

In 2021, the company will launch 17 brands founded, designed or run by black people. Some examples are Oula Co., Oak & Acorn, Phenomenal and Renommé. We don’t just launch brands, we work in very close partnership. We help build new and unique relationships where we can find mutual success, help them grow and introduce them to our clientele, she said.

Jensen said black-owned and operated retailers are in the spotlight on the web and
at the store. The company has navigation tools to sort, filter and display them. As part of the central stage activation during Black History Month,
Nordstrom showcased eight black-founded and black-owned companies across the United States, covering men’s and women’s clothing, beauty,
accessories and shoes.

As for the wider assortment, Jensen said major female names include Topshop, Open Edit, Free People, Treasure & Bond, Good American, Halogen, Caslon, Rails, Rag & Bone, Frame, LAgence and Mother. The most popular new brands for women are Ganni, Farm Rio, Simon Miller, Alix NYC, Naked Wardrobe and Levis.

For men, the big brands are Faherty, All Saints, Vince, Boss, Ted Baker, BP, Open Edit, T&B, AG, Paige and Levis. The most popular new brands for men are Fear of God Essentials, BBC, Brixton, Carhartt, Ksubi, Pendleton, Filson and Barbour.

Other notable labels for women are Cotopaxi, Tonal, EleVen by Venus Williams, Fjallraven and Harper Wilde; and for men, Cotopaxi, Fjallraven, Tonal, Bombas, Vissla and RipCurl.

Similar to what we focused on in women, we tried to create an assortment that covers the entire man’s closet, Jensen said. She noted that in men’s clothing right now, Nordstrom is excited to see a return in demand for clothing, which she said went almost completely black during the pandemic as people weren’t getting dressed. not for the boardroom or for business occasions.

There is no doubt that second-hand dressing has a moment again as people come out of hibernation.

Jensen said she sees a lot of consumers buying a suit for their first interview or wedding, and the men are considering a return to travel. In the sartorial area, brands such as Canali and Ted Baker were strong, as well as Hugo Boss, which is a great line of sportswear for us.

Nordstroms’ recent collaboration with Cross Colors turned out to be very interesting for the retailer. Talk about an iconic street brand and a really relevant brand, Jensen said. She partnered with the founders and brought the brand to life on its central New York City stage. For two weeks this summer, Nordstrom showcased brands past and present in a way that celebrates the 1990s, with pieces worn by celebrities and consumers over the years.

Sportswear continues to be a big draw. For men, the company is doing well with Zella, Nike, Vuori, The North Face, Outdoor Research, LL Bean and Billabong.

The athleisure focus that happened during the pandemic with everyone working from home and wanting to feel comfortable was a very real thing. But we don’t think it’s limited to the pandemic. We think it’s something lasting, Jensen said.

In the women’s market, versatility is here to stay, she noted. Women have a choice. They might want to don joggers and a short-sleeved t-shirt one day to work from home, but maybe they’ll dress up and wear a dress that night for a date, said Jensen.

Sustainability continues to be a growing concern for Nordstroms customers. The company has committed that 15% of its merchandise will be sustainably sourced by 2025. Sustainable offerings include products manufactured by Nordstrom. Many of our denim brands do exciting things with water conservation and biodegradable fabrics, she said. And Ganni, along with other Scandinavian brands, are sustainably sourced.

Another example of Nordstrom’s innovative partnership model is its expanded agreement with Asos. In July, Nordstrom acquired a minority stake in the Asoss Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands. This is going to be a real example of how we are partnering in new and unique ways with the world’s best-known brands, Jensen said. A multi-channel storefront will launch this fall, with Asos products in select stores and online. So keep building from there, she said.

According to the executive, each store is marketed uniquely and has a different footprint. Department store managers and local store managers will know better what will resonate with their customers. We certainly convey the intent of the product and the knowledge about the brands, but it’s really up to them to bring it to life in a compelling way, she said.

The key to the Nordstrom philosophy is customer service. Jensen said the retailer offers free basic edits and personal styling, both in-store and online. They have free personal stylists available in the store fleet and online. They can rework your entire wardrobe or dress you up for a simple event, she said.

Plus, she said, Nordstrom has created a suite of digital styling tools where the company can organize an assortment and compress it on a customer’s phone, showing off what’s new from their favorite brands. More and more, this is happening more and more digitally, she said. The company continues to lead with a digital mindset.

When asked if Millennials are more likely to buy online or in-store, she replied: Customers buy when, where, and for what they want. There are a lot of discoveries online, she says. If people have downtime, the experience of going back to the stores returns. There is no longer a linear path. Our 360 degree activations are a good example of how we want to weave our stories through all touchpoints. There is consistency, inspiration, discovery and connection.

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