Nordstrom organization was founded in 1901 by two partners namely John Nordstrom and Carl Wallin, who were selling shoes around Washington area. Today, the Nordstrom Store has become a brand name and is ranked among the most successful stores in the US. It operates around 200 department stores in America. More precisely, Nordstrom has 157 stores in 27 states in America.
The company plans to open more branches as part of its expansion strategy in untapped markets such as Boston, Ohio as well as other markets, which have potential buyers. The company is determined to actively respond to changes in technology, that is, it is now actively involved in e-commerce where it uses advantages of online markets in real time (McDaniel, Hair & Lamb, 2011).
Type of Retailer
Nordstrom operates as a department retail store with a wide range of products such as clothes, furniture, and electronic goods. Each department store selects the type of goods it will sell, hires employees, and promotes their products. They also actively watch for upcoming trends in the market and respond to these trends with a view to satisfy their customers efficiently.
Stores such as Macy’s Neiman Marcus, JcPenny, Saks 5th Avenue, Kohl’s and Dillard’s are in the same line of operation with Nordstrom and, therefore, compete for the same market share as they all provide a wide variety of products and unique customers experiences.
Level of Service
Meeting and exceeding customers’ expectations is a priority for Nordstrom, which is evident from the excellent level of services provided by the stores. Their high level of service is consistent with the company’s business strategy which is ‘greed on love’. The company spends substantial resources in terms of money and time to meet and exceed expectations of their customers. This is evident from the story told by McCarthy, who was the first sales person of the company. He narrates on how a customer left their air ticket in the store and headed to the airport. After realizing that the customer had left his ticket, an employee, who was working in the store, hired a cab and returned the ticket to the customer at the airport paying his own money for the cab.
Sales staff members devote their time and effort to ensure that customers get the highest possible level of service during their entire shopping experience at Nordstrom. Customers are given individual attention, especially including those who have one leg and want one shoe. Their excellent service is also manifested by the way sales people of the store assist customers in finding and locating products which are not sold in their stores. They also allow customers to return products in case they are dissatisfied with them with minimal questioning.
A good example of a store that is a complete opposite to the level of service provided by Nordstrom is the Ross Store. These stores are always off the price, they buy stock in excess of what they require, and mostly source their goods from other department stores. Although the Ross Store charges lower price compared to Nordstrom, their level of service is also considerably lower. Customers spend significant amount of time in stores because tracking products is very difficult. Tracking becomes difficult due to disorganized way of locating items in the store. Salespeople in the Ross Store are not enthusiastic or helpful enough to meet and exceed customers’ expectations as it is the case at Nordstrom.
Components of Retailing Mix
There are four elements of the retailing mix that help an organization to position itself in the market place to gain competitive advantage. These include product, price, place, and promotion aspects relating to company’s products. Nordstrom’s retailing mix has two additional elements besides four elements mentioned above. These elements are personnel and presentation, which are at heart of company’s operations. Company’s retailing mix begins with the product, which is at the core of company’s operations. The company offers a large variety of products and it is able to obtain a product for the customer, if the product is not readily available in their department stores.
The second element of company’s retailing mix is place element. Company’s stores are situated in numerous locations, where they sell products to customers. Apart from physical locations, the company has an online location where it is able to target a large customer base both within and outside the country. Opening hours of physical locations are convenient for customers while online shop is available every day throughout the year.
Regarding the price mix aspect, the company ensures that prices, which, although are sometimes high, carry additional value, that makes customers not to shy away from buying products, thereby making sales experience successful for both parties: the buyer and the seller.
Promotion is another element of retailing mix, which is evident in the company. The company promotes its products through regular sales of the store’s items. The company promotion also occurs by word of mouth as customers share their impressions about shopping experience with other potential customers. Over all, the company spends less money on promoting its products compared to its competitors in the market place, because their excellent customer service keeps customers returning to their stores.
Presentation is another element of the company’s retailing mix. The company always organizes products throughout their stores in a manner which takes the customer less time to find it. This enables them to serve more customers at a time, which translates to increased sales for the company. In doing so, the company avoids frustrating customers, who may complain that a product takes much time to find. Sales people at Nordstrom Stores, who are always more than ready to assist customers, make the entire shopping experience even more exciting.
The last element of Nordstrom’s retailing mix is the personnel. The organization has a motivated workforce, whose enthusiasm for the job results in the high level of service that they provide to customers who get a chance to shop with them. Employees are taught how to ‘fit in the shoes’ to customers. This focus on customers helps to make them not only satisfied but delighted as well as it helps to establish a strong attachment to the store. This attachment results from customer’s delight with the entire unique buying experience at Nordstrom department stores.
Although the company enjoys significant market share in the retailing environment, which is coupled with the level of service they provide to their customers, the company still faces several challenges. Nordstrom’s primary challenge is the issue of continuous availability of the products which they sell to their customers. However, the company has implemented a computerized system to track its inventory levels. This helps the company to monitor shortages, overstocks, obsolescence, redundant, and deteriorated items in their stores. The system will be integrated in all stores, so that physical stores figures could be available in real time, thus avoiding shortages of stock. This will solve product availability problem.
Meeting and exceeding customers’ expectations helps the company to achieve competitive advantage within the market place over its competitors. Customers are at the heart of the company and, therefore, Nordstrom is willing to spend resources and go that extra mile of not only satisfying their customers, but also delighting them. The company continuously perfects the art of keeping customers happy. This has helped reduce the costs that the company incurs in the promotion element of its retailing mix.
Regardless of company’s marketing strategies that were employed in the past like the individual approach that made customers promote company’s product through the word of mouth, today the company is technology based. The company is investing more in technology making it possible for customers to buy company’s products online, track inventories and stocks held online as well as to open more stores in more markets where the company has a niche for its products.
Computerized systems also help the organization to have up-to-date statistics about fast moving goods and hence the store is able to buy more of them (Media & Henderson, 2012). As such, Nordstrom constantly revises its adopted strategies in the ever changing business environment. Nevertheless, Nordstrom does not forget that products it stocks begin and end with the customer and, therefore, it seeks to meet the expectations of every customer who is buying their products.