Retailing is one of the foundational drivers of global market growth. Retailing encompasses a set of activities related to the act of selling goods and services to consumers. Retailers serve billions of consumers on a daily basis. Nordstrom is one of the leaders of the U.S. fashion and apparel market.
The company uses fixed stores and online catalogues to meet the needs of customers. Nordstrom is a full-service specialty store and electronic retailer, which relies on personnel and presentation aspects of the retailing marketing mix and has everything to meet the rising demands of fashion customers.
Nordstrom: The Power of Service
Nordstrom, Inc. is an exclusive provider of quality fashion products, which include shoes and apparel, jewelry and cosmetics, accessories and fragrances for men, women, and children (Nordstrom, 2011). The company runs 225 stores in 25 states all over the United States (Nordstrom, 2011).
Nordstrom tries to catch up with the changes in consumer behaviors and expectations – online stores and catalogues expand the company’s market presence (Nordstrom, 2011). Nordstrom is well-known for its commitment to social responsibility and positions itself as a company where people want to work (Nordstrom, 2011).
Nordstrom: A Specialty Store
Nordstrom uniquely combines the features of specialty store and e-retailing. Nordstrom also runs a set of department stores in the United States. Specialty store is both a type of store and a mode of retailing (Lamb, Hair & McDaniel, 2011).
It is interesting to note, that customers in specialty stores are relatively price-insensitive. For this reason the company does not apply to price promotions and discounts but uses superior service and customer relationships to popularize its products and brand. Nordstrom further expands its market presence through Internet stores.
Consumers find this mode of shopping extremely convenient and fast (Lamb et al., 2011). The use of online retailing opportunities means that the company tries to meet customer needs by all possible means. A wide range of related services adds to the quality and popularity of Nordstrom products. For example, Nordstrom stylists help consumers to develop and maintain a sense of fashion (Nordstrom, 2011).
The Value of Full-Service Retailers
Nordstrom can be classified as a full-service specialty store provider of quality fashion products. Generally, all retailers are classified by the level of service, from full service to self-service (Lamb et al., 2011). An exclusive provider, Nordstrom tends to offer high levels of service (Lamb et al., 2011).
However, not all fashion stores are full service. Many specialty and department stores operate at the opposite end of the level of service continuum.
Warehouse and discount stores offer low-price products. For example, Payless Shoe Source is a self-service retail facility, which maintains low prices and seeks to reduce overhead costs by all possible means (Funding Universe, 2010). These self-service retailers rely on the price aspect of the retailing mix, and do not provide their customers with a full range of quality services.
The Retailing Mix – Personnel and Presentation
The retailing mix incorporates the four P’s of the market mix (product, price, place, promotion), followed by presentation and personnel (Lamb et al., 2011). Nordstrom provides a variety of product options to satisfy different customers. Nordstrom’s prices are never low.
The company places a special emphasis on the physical location of its stores and, simultaneously, promotes its brand through magazines for middle- and higher-income customers (Clifford, 2010). Presentation and personnel are the main factors of Nordstrom’s business success.
Nordstrom does not use traditional price promotions and discounts but relies on regular pricing and integrity. Nordstrom offers “seamless” shopping experiences, meaning that all sales channels operate as a single system; for example, customers who make purchases online can easily exchange their products in fixed specialty and department stores.
Perfect relations with customers and generous exchange policies strengthen the company’s market position. Nordstrom’s personnel have skills, knowledge, and ability to give their customers undivided attention. Yet, Nordstrom’s market position is not without difficulties.
Primary Challenges and Changing Consumer Demands
Nordstrom is faced with a number of challenges. Basically, the company must learn to balance its fixed store needs with the growing importance of online retailing. Nordstrom must learn to expand its online presence without losing its ‘personal touch’. Understanding customer reactions to online retailing is crucial for the company’s success (Burt & Sparks, 2003). Furthermore, consumer expectations are rising, and more players are entering the market.
Burt and Sparks (2003) write that “existing retail floor space will need enhancement in quality and presentation if it is to continue to provide retail functions” (p.275), as these improvements will enhance the company’s efficiency and strengthen its market position. Postmodern customers appreciate companies, products, and services that make their lives easier.
Customers display low tolerance for poor quality of services and products. Consumer lifestyles are growing diverse, and Nordstrom must learn to meet a bewildering variety of consumer interests and choices (Jones and Simmons, 2009). Finally, customers want to get the fullest range of services in one place. Nordstrom, with its eternal reliance on customer relationships, personalization, and customer-focused retailing solutions, has everything to meet the rising demands of fashion customers.
Nordstrom is one of the leaders of the U.S. fashion market. Nordstrom is a full-service specialty store and electronic retailer, which relies on personnel and presentation aspects of the retailing marketing mix and has everything to meet the rising demands of fashion customers. Personnel and presentation are at the heart of the company’s business success, but Nordstrom must be able to balance its fixed store needs with the growing importance of online retailing.
Burt, S. & Sparks, L. (2003). E-commerce and the retail process: A review. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 10, 275-286.
Clifford, S. (2010). Nordstrom links online inventory to real world. The New York Times.
Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/24/business/24shop.html
Funding Universe. (2010). Payless ShoeSource, Inc. Funding Universe. Retrieved from
Jones, K.G. & Simmons, J.W. (2009). The retail environment. Taylor & Francis.
Lamb, C.W., Hair, J.F. & McDaniel, C. (2011). Marketing. Boston: Cengage Learning.
Nordstrom. (2011). About Nordstrom. Nordstrom. Retrieved from