Tuesday, February 17, 2009

3 Reasons I Shop at Nordstrom

About a month ago, I visited the Nordstrom in Natick, MA during their post-holiday Men's sale. I spotted a nifty Tommy Bahama half-zip sweater I really liked. Unfortunately, it was *not* on sale and at $85 I gave it a pass.

Yesterday, I was in their Burlington location and saw the sweater on sale for $41.90. Unfortunately, they didn't have my size. When I asked the salesperson (Natacha) whether they could help me find my size, she went over to a checkout counter and within a couple of seconds she advised that the only store in the company that had the item I was looking for was in New Jersey. She said she could call them and have it shipped to my house for free. Rather than have me wait around, she took my contact information and said she'd call me later in the day to let me know if she could track it down.

Sure enough, a little while later she left a message on my cell phone and said she did indeed have the item and asked that I call her back with my credit card information if I'd like to have it shipped out. I called her this morning and completed the transaction (she gave me her business card so it was easy to reach her.) It couldn't have been any easier.

This interaction is so superior to typical retail customer service I don't know where to begin. All of this for a lousy $40 sweater! Amazing.

Three reasons I shop at Nordstrom:
  1. They give you first class service even when shopping for deeply discounted items.
  2. They carry brands that are interesting to me. Not so high end as to be ridiculously expensive and pretentious, and not so low end that they're available elsewhere for significantly less.
  3. They don't put Christmas decorations up until after Thanksgiving.
For me, there's something about Nordstrom that aligns with my values as a shopper. Service oriented- not pretentious. I see this kind of relative positioning in other industries as well:

Nordstrom is to Neiman Marcus as the Four Seasons is to the Ritz Carlton. As BMW is to Mercedes. Intuitive customer service before appearance of wealth.

Update (2/19/2009): My item showed up today (2 days after I placed the order) and it was just what I was expecting. Not only that, but the tag on the sweater was marked $49.90 (as opposed to the $41.90 I paid) and the receipt in the box also mentioned $10 shipping (which was waived.) My credit card was charged $41.90 just as I expected it would be. Well done, Nordstrom!

What do you think? Is Nordstrom as great as I'm making it out to be?


BethM said...

Absolutely! It's been my favorite store for more than 20 years now. I agree with your first two reasons for shopping there, and substitute as a third (Christmas decorations don't bother me) that their buyers find really interesting and unique items within those brands that you don't see elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Nordstrom rules! I still miss the store and the whole mall for that matter. Neiman Marcus just scares me!


Unknown said...

It's all about the shoes baby. Also I love that I can park next to Nordies and never have to enter the Mal d'Amerique at all!

I have had similar experiences with them ordering items for me and sending them to my home. The only caveat is that one such transaction led to my VISA information being stolen and I had to get a new VISA.

That, however, led to my superior customer satisfaction with VISA....they called me after the first transaction was made (with an actually card at a drugstore in in podunc, FL) and never charged me for the $1400 in purchases made with the card in the time it took them to call and verify that it wasn't me, sent me a new card that I recieved the next day and called a few weeks later to find out if I had had any further troubles with my credit due to that issue! Amazing is all I can say!

Unknown said...

I have to agree about Nordstrom's. I have told Michelle the same thing (even about the decorations, I think -- scary!)

My experiences have been great, there, both in terms of finding good-quality clothes and with respect to customer service.

One tip I can offer is that if, like me, you hang a lot of your clothing, you can ask for some of the wooden hangers when you purchase clothes. They will give you enough for your clothing purchase, as well as up to 3 extra ones (this may change, now that there's belt-tightening going around). I have often gotten "extra" extra hangers, too, merely by being polite.

Robert said...

Thanks for the comments everyone!

BethM- are your prior experiences with Nordstrom from your time in CA? Or where?

Iona- We miss you here in MA!

Michelle- I too like the way you can go to the Nordstrom and a couple of other adjacent higher end stores in a lot of their locations without interacting with too many mall rats. And yikes- I'll have to watch out for the credit card theft. Do you suspect that the breach was due to Nordstrom's handling of your credit card information?

And Ken- You were the one who initially tipped on the decoration item. Thanks for that! Nice tip about the hangers too- I wasn't aware of that one. Nice "plussing" maneuver on their part!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I adore Nordstrom. I always say, I don't want to live more than 20 miles from one.

Anonymous said...

Bob - Do you mind if I share this post with a friend who works in their marketing department in Seattle?

Robert said...

Karen: Sure! That would be great.

Christy said...

I still remember your pet peeve of Nordstrom vs. the commonly stated Nordstroms.

Love the place - great service! Plus, if you buy at retail prices you get alterations for free.

Anonymous said...

Yes you are right about Nordstrom customer care services because I also experienced their quality services through Nordstrom Coupon Codes where I bought many of their products online with coupons and discounts.
I like your blog post about them and I'll share it with others.

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Barbara | VinoLuciStyle said...

Thanks for this post; really. Was just chatting with you on Twitter about my daughter working at Nordstrom's on the visual team; as the Mom I hate not having her with me til late on Thanksgiving Day but as a consumer I have always appreciated that they don't display Christmas decor until the day after Thanksgiving. Well, not that you can see at least - those store windows are covered for a reason!

You hit the nail on the head all the way around and I actually love that I still love them even though my daughter is an employee...that says a lot too!

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Karin@LifeLock-protection said...

That's excellent service. I haven't received that type of service anywhere in a long time. I mean, there are people who go the extra mile but when it comes to offering you discounts, sometimes you have to ask for it.

The fact is, they gave you not one but two discounts. You saved on the shipping and you saved on the price of the sweater and they didn't make you ask for it or charge your credit card without your permission.

that's the type of behavior that will help them to stay ahead of their competition and keep loyal customers for a very long time.

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