E-Commerce: Nordstrom

About:

Nordstrom.com is the online version of one of the nation’s largest upscale retailers. The store carries mid to high-end apparel, accessories, cosmetics, fragrances, handbags, and shoes.  They also have a stellar reputation for impeccable customer service and a “no questions asked” return policy.  The goal of the site is to maintain strong brand awareness/affinity, create a seamless shopping experience and to generate revenue through online sales.

Similarities/Differences:

Of the 4 sites reviewed, Nordstrom.com is most similar to Bluefly.com.  Both carry a plethora of designers and both specialize in mid-high end clothing.  Nordstrom.com does carry a wider array of items than Bluefly and has a better return/customer service policy.

Strengths:

Nordstrom.com offers an easy and pleasant shopping experience.  Categories/brands/departments are organized logically and the internal search engine makes it quick and simple to find what you are looking for.  The site is also very customer service oriented, mirroring the offline values of the company.  There are several ways to get in touch with online support, including live chat with an actual Nordstrom employee.

The home page picture changes frequently and often displays a catchy photo or sale promotions.  Nordstrom.com makes it easy for a shopper to manage his/her shopping experience with a robust and secure account management section, including a wish list registry.  Free shipping is offered for all online orders over “x” amount and with free returns (sent in or brought back to the store), which makes shopping on Nordstrom.com a low stress experience.

Unlike Esty.com, when an item/category is clicked on, the user is taken directly to that page, rather than being routed to a new tab or window, making for a less cluttered and overwhelming browsing experience

Weaknesses/Recommendations:

Overall, there are very few weaknesses that I would point out on Nordstrom.com.  One would be the amount of white (negative) space on each of the sides of the main site.  It would seem like the extra space could be utilized better somehow, without over cluttering the site.  Also, the site could do a better job with its user-generated reviews and word of mouth/social media applications.  Perhaps incentives could be put in place for shoppers to review their purchases to increase their database of user-generated content.   Also, while Nordstrom has a solid presence on Twitter and Facebook, the site doesn’t promote these outlets much.  A more visible mention directing to Nordsrom’s Facebook page and Twitter handle would help them to increase their following via social media platforms.  Additionally, Nordstrom offers a price match policy (they’ll match any retailer selling the same item for less), however, this attractive feature is only communicated briefly in remote sections of the site.  Lastly, the category headings could benefit from using darker/bolder font to stand out more (both across the top and side of the home and category pages).

Summary:

The experience on Nordstrom.com mirrors that of their offline counterpart – easy and headache-free.  The convenience they offer to their customers in conjunction with top-notch brands at competitive prices will continue to make them industry leaders.

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