Nordstrom Launches 'Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store'

Nordies buy online pickup in storeHigh-end retailer Nordstrom is taking a page from the big-box stores, and says it's testing a "Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store" option for its Web shoppers. Right now, the service is available for the women's and men's apparel, as well as women's shoes and cosmetics. By September, the retailer says it will be available in all merchandise categories. Nordstrom has 159 stores in 28 states.

Ever since Circuit City set the e-commerce world on its ear with the success of in-store pickup in 2006, larger retailers have embraced it, and it has become a major component in cross-channel selling.

"It's a feature consumers really are asking for," says Ed Stevens, CEO and founder of Shopatron, a San Luis, Obispo, Calif.-based company that works with both manufacturers and retailers. "Our experience is that upwards of 50%, and sometimes as high as 75%, of a retailer's Internet customers say they want this feature. In fact, what's caused the relatively slow adoption of this isn't consumers. It's just taken stores a little while to figure out the technology."



"Convenience is back in style," he says, explaining that what customers love about in-store pickup is that it allows them to break the task of shopping up into smaller pieces, which they can work into their schedule. "So let's say I need to buy my son a birthday present. I can fit the shopping portion into a 10-minute time slot between business meetings in the morning. And I can squeeze the pickup into a 10-minute slot after work, and have lower blood pressure all day."

Like all retailers, the Seattle-based Nordstrom is struggling for any competitive advantage in a tough consumer spending environment. Last week, the company reported first-quarter sales of $1.88 billion, a decrease of 3.8%, while comparable-store sales fell 6.5%.

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