Nordstrom Is Testing IRL Lifestyle Hubs Designed To Drive E-Commerce

Social Media Week

The retail giant is trying out a bold new concept: Miniature stores that don’t actually sell clothes.

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With more and more retail stores struggling to keep up with diminished foot traffic and the high costs of real estate, one company is blowing up its traditional brick and mortar model.

Nordstrom has announced that it will soon test a new store concept in West Hollywood designed to build its brand and prioritize experiences around products over immediate, in-store sales. Dubbed Nordstrom Local, the miniature lifestyle shop will offer personal stylists, manicures, and beverages, but it won’t sell any clothes in-store.

The test store reflects Nordstrom’s desire to evolve its strategy in a retail environment that’s increasingly dominated by online experiences. By doubling down on experiences over products, retailers will need to find new ways to compete. Nordstrom’s strategy: Build its brand in the physical world with the hope of creating a halo effect on its digital sales.

Interestingly, digital-first brand Amazon has begun to open its own brick-and-mortar shops in key U.S. markets. Online direct-to-consumer luggage retailer AWAY has a concept store in New York’s trendy SoHo neighborhood.

The first Nordstrom Local shop is the first of many new locations that will offer no merchandise for sale in the store itself. Since there is virtually no inventory, Nordstrom can get away with the high retail costs that come with a 100,000 square-foot presence. In fact, Nordstorm Local will be roughly 3,000 square feet.

Nordstrom notes that the move reflects its desire to promote “quantity over quality” with respect to store experiences. As Shea Jensen, SVP of customer experience, told CNN: “Shopping today may not always mean going to a store and looking at a vast amount of inventory. It can mean trusting an expert to pick out a selection of items.”

Of course, Nordstrom Local will also help bolster the brand’s already fantastic reputation when it comes to customer service. Within the new mini-stores, customers will be able to make returns, facilitate in-store pick ups for orders made online, and even opt for same-day delivery.

Business Insider reports that first Nordstrom Local opens its doors on Oct. 3.

Katie Perry

Contributor, Social Media Week

Katie Perry is a marketing & content strategist and contributor to SMW News, a leading news platform covering startups, tech, brands and the future of work. You can follow Katie on Twitter at @katieeperry.

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