With the launch of Nordstrom Local, Melrose Place will be the site of a creative response to the decline in sales at brick and mortar shops.
Nordstrom Local, which will open Oct. 3 at 8401 Melrose Place, will have no dedicated inventory. Instead customers will be served by “personal stylists” who will help them choose the apparel they want and then order it online. Customers can pick up the merchandise at Nordstrom Local or have it delivered to their homes. The shop will even deliver merchandise to customers parked on the curb outside (meaning they won’t have to look for parking.)
The Nordstrom Local shop, the retailer’s first, will contain 3,000 square feet, radically smaller than the typical 140,000 square foot Nordstrom store.
In an announcement of Nordstrom Local, Shea Jensen, senior vice president of customer experience, said: “As the retail landscape continues to transform at an unprecedented pace, the one thing we know that remains constant is that customers continue to value great service, speed and convenience. We know there are more and more demands on a customer’s time and we wanted to offer our best services in a convenient location to meet their shopping needs. Finding new ways to engage with customers on their terms is more important to us now than ever.”
Nordstrom Local will have one styling suite and eight dressing rooms surrounding a central meeting space where customers can sit and enjoy a glass of wine or beer, and talk with stylists.
The Nordstrom Local concept is similar to Amazon’s experiment with physical stores. A story by the Associated Press describes Amazon’s opening of physical bookstores, many of which don’t stock books, as a way to connecting with those customers who still shop at retail outlets.
While the AP story cites a study that claims 90% of worldwide retail spending is still in physical locations, a study by CapGemini Consulting says that increasingly consumers don’t like the brick-and-mortar experience.
“Shopping in physical stores offers consumers something unique and valuable compared to the digital domain: a social experience and a tactile experience,” the study acknowledges. “But, our latest research shows that shoppers are now seeing less value and pleasure in this core element of the physical retail experience. Our global survey – spanning 6,000 consumers and 500 retail executives – found that one-third of consumers would rather wash dishes than visit a retail store.
“A key reason for this declining value is that consumers now expect a physical user experience that rivals what they find online, from expecting goods to be in stock to being able to choose from multiple delivery options. Consumers wish to use technology to help them engage with the store at every step of the shopping journey. Unfortunately, these new expectations are not being met, and as a result consumer satisfaction for retailers is worryingly low. Nearly one in two retailers in our survey were given a negative NPS by consumers.” The NPS is a question asking a customer whether he or she would refer the store to a friend.
While there is no concrete evidence of such, the decline in brick and mortar shopping has been cited by one retailer in WeHo’s Design District for a decline in his on-site sales. It also may be a contributor to the large number of empty storefronts along Robertson Boulevard that have led some to label it “Jay Luchs Boulevard,” after the prominent commercial real estate agent whose “for rent” signs are in many of the windows.