October 1, 2010, 11:03 AM

With a Conversation section, the redesigned Nordstrom.com finds new ways to engage shoppers

Among the improvements in the recently reworked Nordstrom.com is a new section that gives customers opportunities to post and share content such as comments, photos and videos.

Mark Brohan

Research Director

Upscale retailer Nordstrom Inc. is working harder to engage online shoppers. A newly redesigned e-commerce site, which went live last month, 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 of Nordstrom.com 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, which 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 style advice on 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 a 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.”

mark@verticalwebmedia.com

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