August 30, 2010, 3:54 PM

Nordstrom.com dresses up

The new Nordstrom.com features plenty of customer interaction.

Lead Photo

The site's Conversation section includes fashion tips, photos and videos.

After three years of planning, Nordstrom Inc. has introduced a redesigned e-commerce site.

The site, which went live about a week ago, features bigger and clearer imagery, better site search and other updated features and “Conversation,” a new section that gives Nordstrom customers opportunities to post and share content such as comments, photos and videos.

Nordstrom, which did all of the work internally, says the redesign will enable the retailer to better connect with customers. “The site is just much cleaner and more visually appealing than before,” says a company spokesman. “Gone is the busy list of links and multiple tabs on the home page. We’ve made navigating and shopping the site a lot simpler and more fun for the customer.”

Nordstrom, No. 29 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, has expanded its internally developed site search application to give customers more guided navigation. Consumers now can search for products using multiple criteria.

“Because of the way we allow customers to now layer multiple search factors at once—brand, price, different sizes or figure—it takes fewer clicks for the customer to find what she’s looking for,” the spokesman says. “This all happens in a very dynamic way and everything updates automatically to reflect what’s literally available across our entire inventory.

The new home page features only three images and a handful of categories at the top: Department, Brand and Conversation. Nordstrom used customer feedback from e-mails, contact center correspondence and focus groups to create the Conversation section that gives shoppers access to content such as a “Style Forum,” where readers can solicit fashion advice from “Miss Nordstrom,” a fashion expert. The page also features videos, including from Nordstrom shoppers who give out tips and styles for dressing well at home and on the job.

“Our Conversation section is now a dedicated space for customers to talk about all things fashion with us and with other fans of Nordstrom,” says the spokesman.

By including fewer but bigger images on the home page, and by focusing the site navigation on three distinct tabs, Nordstrom sees the new design as way to differentiate itself from other online and multichannel department store and apparel merchants, the company says. “We realized there really hasn’t been much innovation the last several years between us and our peers when it comes to site design,” the spokesman says.  “This is a big step forward for us.” 

The new product pages feature a cleaner look, tools that let a shopper enlarge a product image and sort merchandise by tabs such as Featured, Newest, Price, Sale and Customer Rating. “Our product pages are much improved,” the spokesman says. “We’re giving customers better product information and clearer sizing, color and availability details up front. Photos are twice as big as before and displayed in a way that gives the customer a better feel for the merchandise.”

Nordstrom also has reported its latest earnings. For the second quarter end July 31, Nordstrom reported:

 

  • An increase in direct sales, which includes catalog and web, of 34.4% to about $172 million from $128 million in in the second quarter 2009.
  • Total net sales increased about 13.1% to $2.42 billion from $2.14 billion in the second quarter of 2009.
  • Same-stores sales increased 8.4%.
  • Net earnings increased around 39.1% to $146 million from $105 million.
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