Changes at Nordstrom: The Bigger Picture

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  1. #1 Jul 25, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
    As one of the many who are lamenting the sparse inventory, and obvious reduction in the level of customer service, during this year's Anniversary Sale, I'm bummed at more than just being unable to score the Alexander Wang Darcy bag in Beet. It's clear that there's been a radical shift, and that Nordstrom is no longer offering a luxury shopping experience enhanced by world-famous customer service in an environment where, much like Audrey Hepburn quipped about Tiffany, nothing bad could ever happen to you. Looking at the bigger picture, what really scares me is that as Nordstrom slips the inevitable message will be that providing outstanding service just isn't profitable in a retail environment. I fear that Nordstrom will no longer be held up as the gold standard other retailers aspire to, but instead will be pointed to as an example in B schools of what doesn't work as a business model. It feels like the end of an era, and the loss of a friend and ally in the pursuit of fashion. With the growing loss of Nordstrom as a refuge against an indifferent world, and as a beacon of retail therapy, it might be time to bury my head under my new Kennebunk blankie!
  2. This is very interesting. I do not get to the mall much anymore since I had kids but customer service is very important to me. I completely avoid places that have employees who do not know their job or how to treat people. Places like Nordstrom were always nice to go to because they would go out of their way to treat customers well. Once I was looking for a shirt for my husband that I had seen at NM a week earlier and the SA said he would go and buy me that shirt from NM which was at a different mall 15 miles away. I always remember that and thought it was amazing. I prefer to shop at places that treat their employees well which I believe trickles down to customers.

    The shopping experience is changing and it is too bad to hear that Nordstrom's CS is declining because I always felt like that is what they were known for. I think stores are trying to differentiate themselves and draw customers in. My car dealer is always coming up with new ways to serve their clients better. I think it will be interesting to see the changes in retail over the next few years. I definitely think there will be streamlining of stores but hope some of the good ones will survive.
    taxvixen likes this.
  3. The biggest difference I see is that Nordstrom is treating their employees differently and making it harder for them to make a buck. As nearly every employee works on commission, they are forcing more employees on the floor while raising selling quota's, and making it impossible for them to earn a decent living. I'm hearing complaints form former All Stars and Million Dollar Club earners who are very unhappy. They are telling me it is nearly impossible to make a living here, and they are forced to go elsewhere. What we will be left with are those that are just there to get their paycheck and know little to nothing.
    taxvixen likes this.
  4. JNH14- I don't the stock price equates with the shopping experience, which is what I was lamenting. Nordstrom will become more profitable and enjoy a higher eps, but at what cost to the consumer who cherished the unique experience of a store that seemingly placed customers first? The historic Nordstrom business model seemed to me to have been "put the customer first and profit will take care of itself." Now it seems like the company is reducing the quantity and quality of service (as well as inventory) in order to goose up profits. That's what has me feeling a bit sad and wistful for the old days.
    ChaneLisette likes this.
  5. Don't think that Nordstrom is the only store suffering from a lack of customer service. Many of the high end department
    stores are not putting the customer first. The bottom line is really all about profit & numbers sadly at the expense of the
    A major designer label has just restructured their commission making it very challenging for their sales associates.
    We aren't going to go back & see that graciousness that once existed in stores.. it's gone & will not come back...
  6. I shopped at two different Nordstrom's this week and had excellent customer service in four departments. The SAs went above and beyond to assist me with work clothes, bras, workout wear, and clothes for my three kids. Sizes that weren't in stock but still available were ordered and shipped to me.

    However, in two of the higher end departments I wasn't even greeted nor asked if I needed assistance. I found this frustrating and unacceptable. I also noticed a few SAs standing around chatting instead of helping customers. I did let Nordstrom's know about this.
  7. I was in Nordstrom's last Saturday and had to interrupt 3 sales people casually chatting to ask for help looking for an item, one of them pointed me in a direction but was unwilling to help. 10 minutes later I was still wandering around looking for the same item and once again I had to go and seek help, this time a sales person did walk me over to a rack and said, "that if they had it, it would be here" no help whatsoever! They were not busy either, thoroughly disappointed, in future I will just order online.