Nordstrom is basically categorized to be among the leading departmental stores in America, along with JC Penny’s, Macy’s, and Sears. This paper attempts to analyze the Nordstrom Company, and how it began as a single shoe store in 1901 when it was started as a family-run enterprise by two Swedish immigrants. Since its inception, it has expanded into a large chain operating in 27 states, having 180 outlets, and sales reaching $6.49 in the year 2003. The company owns over 90 flagship department stores and approximately 50 Nordstrom Rack outlet stores in America, and about 35 Faconnable boutiques, a big number of which is situated in Europe (Merrick, 2001). Around 20 percent of the company’s stock is owned by the founding Nordstrom family members to date.
Nordstrom is described as an upscale retailer and has generally been famous in having superior customer for more than 100 years. Similar to other departmental stores, Nordstrom treats its departments as separate buying centers. The company gained a lot from the new computerized system of inventory that assists both buyers and sales persons with the required data of making reasoned decisions related to the items needed and not needed in the stores. This system is very beneficial as it greatly assists the buyers in making sound decisions on what to obtain and display in the stores, and thus ensures that sales are improved.
It is also essential to understand the fact that like other retailers, Nordstrom has adopted the method of selective distribution as a kind of retailing. They must analyze an area thoroughly before setting up a store there. The president of the company, Eric Nordstrom, for instance, visits any proposed site personally, and with the help of analyzed demographics, data and his instincts decide whether the area is worth a try (Merrick, 2001). They have maintained a good quality; they have been known for their perfectly maintained selective distribution for years. Nordstrom also has similar characteristics with other retailers, such as superior customer service, product quality and most of all a generous exchange policy. They are known to refund customers in the cases where they lack the demanded product in their store.
Nordstrom’s level of service on the continuum from full service to self-service is very explicit. The main aim, to which Nordstrom is fully devoted, is to deliver the best possible experience to their customers and sales persons. They believe in perfection regardless of it being in online purchasing, their stores, or through a mail order catalogue. They ensure that the customer is treated with love and respect whenever they make visits in the stores for purchases. They have adopted a scheme of referring to their business strategy as ’greed through love’. They offer a special type of goods and services as they provide high quality services of experienced and concerned sales persons on the ground (Falum, 1990). The change taken from full services to self services makes Nordstrom increase the operations levels as well as the number of customers. Their sales have greatly improved due to the fact that they offer self services that are efficient.
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Despite the fact that Neiman Marcus is a potential competitor to the Nordstrom Company, it operates on the opposite side of the continuum due to a number of factors (DeMoro, 2008). It is important to note that unlike Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus operations greatly involve online marketing. Nordstrom Company is well known to deal with shoes and clothing, while Neiman Marcus specializes in hardware and luxurious jewelry. Neiman Marcus is generally involved in luxurious and extravagant offers to the public, while Nordstrom is not known to organize any offers.
The six notable components of Nordstrom’s retailing mix begin with the product as they have a large pack of assorted products. They have numerous and strategically placed physical location for shopping. The third factor is that they do their best to promote themselves, and get consumes purchase their products. The fourth factor is the prices of their products. Their products are priced with integrity. The fifth factor lies in the fact that they make their products pleasing to the consumers by uniquely presenting them. The Nordstrom Company has been very successful in the retail market. Its success can be credited to a number of factors. First and foremost, the management of Nordstrom has set up several strategies that facilitate the attraction and maintenance of customers as a first priority (Moin, 2000). Nordstrom has been very successful in the advertisement sector. The management has ensured that intensive marketing of its products has been done effectively. Nordstrom’s advertisements have been running through the Internet, and in media houses so as to increase their sales. The advertisements have been very successful, since information of the products offered, and prices of the products set by Nordstrom are effectively made known to the consumers.
Nordstrom’s retail business strategy can be described as ’greed through love’. The have proved their capabilities in the market by perfecting the art of spotting the true customers, and offering them nothing less than the required attention. Nordstrom’s salespersons are known to establish good relationships with customers, and apparently maintain them for years. The exchange business cards with the customers make calls to the customer whenever new merchandise is brought in as well as set shopping dates with the customers. Nordstrom has set up a seamless shopping experience that enables them to make successful sales through all channels whether in-store, online or via mail order. Nordstrom has made it a company’s tradition never to hop on price promoting bandwagons (Falum, 1990). This has been very helpful in the company’s success as it always made them establish regular pricing that have integrity. Another factor that has influenced the success of Nordstrom is its open sale environment. This gives the consumers the freedom to try any new product and to some extent take home products even before they purchase them. The sales staffs are well trained to give the customers a real shopping experience once they set foot in the outlets.
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The primary challenges in the current retail climate include the changing shopping behavior of individuals. Keeping up with this drastic change of consumers shopping is very demanding, and always keep them on toes to embrace change. Sales opportunities are also limited since customers who purchase Nordstrom’s merchandise online can not return them, as the products are not available in the retail stores. Similarly merchandise bought on the retail stores are hardly found online.
Competition has really changed in the recent years, ranging from advertisement, and environmental positioning of the retail store to the sales promotion of the product. It has not been easy for most of the retailers, especially carrying the fact that retail requires one to sell something everyday. The consumers’ expectations have also changed with time in regard to the products offered in the market. They expect that retailers offer promotional sales now and then, and that they should be allowed to have an exchange on earlier bought products. These changes have thus called for a wake-up call to all retailers so that they can grab a part of the market.