• Jacobs Communications

Does the store of the future have no inventory? Why we love the Nordstrom Local concept

We visited the Nordstrom Local store in West Hollywood last weekend and spoke with the team and experienced their new approach to retail. This small location carries no inventory and instead focuses on retail services and experiences for the local customer. Nordstrom opened the first prototype of this new store concept called Nordstrom Local last fall and has plans to open a few more locations this year. This tiny footprint store comes with tailoring services, food and drinks, an outdoor patio, buy online/pick up, curb side pick up, Trunk Club stylists, nail salon, community events, and clothes recycling.

Here are our highlights:

Personal Stylists

From the moment you walk in the door, you'll be greeted by a Nordstrom representative and offered a drink or a snack with a friendly conversation. There is a style bar where customers can obtain help from a stylist to assist in selecting a wardrobe, gifts or even a special occasion outfit. Since this store doesn't hold inventory, products will come from a nearby regular store. There is also a Trunk Club shop that offers made to measure clothes.

Project 18

Project 18 is a customer feedback and co-creation program for VIP customers. Nordstrom works with their top shoppers on feedback about their experiences, highlights what they've heard on the board pictured above and announces changes and new ideas being implemented. This goes to prove that not every innovation in the retail experience needs to be centered around tech!

You don't need to buy clothes

Even if you don't need a new outfit, there's a reason to drop in: A nail table offers eight different services on site. If this concept doesn't work out, it looks like this section of the store can easily be replaced with something else customers will respond to, but during our visit the salon was full! In the area that holds the buy online/pick up in store merchandise is also a clothing donation box. The Nordstrom team member we spoke to said she was surprised at how many people actually stop in just to donate clothes.

Perfect fit

Customers never have to worry about ordering clothes online and going through the hassle of returning items that don't fit through the mail. When customers pick up their online orders, they're able to try on the new products in the fitting rooms to make sure it's what they wanted before they go home. If they need something altered, the on-site tailoring service is on hand to measure and work on alterations. Nordstrom merchandise will receive a discounted price on alterations, but non-Nordstrom clothing can use the service as well. In the fitting room area is a section to highlight new collections and designers.

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. Shoppers won't likely come running to Nordstrom Local from all corners of LA (and if you've ever sat in LA traffic, you know why), but that's not the retailer's goal. Located more or less in between Nordstrom's Century City and The Grove locations, it's simply a smaller, more personal, service-oriented option for busy West Hollywood residents.

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