May 22, 2008, 12:00 AM

Nordstrom introduces buy online/pick-up in-store

Having integrated all of its e-commerce and store inventory systems, Nordstrom is rolling out a buy online/pick-up in-store program. The pilot includes men’s and women’s apparel, women’s shoes, and cosmetics.

Having integrated all of its e-commerce and store inventory systems, Nordstrom Inc. is rolling out a buy online/pick-up in-store program.

Nordstrom is now testing the service with merchandise from its women’s apparel, men’s apparel, women’s shoes and cosmetics departments. The retailer, No. 32 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, plans to expand the program to all of its merchandise categories by September. Nordstrom will send customers a confirmation e-mail within one hour of receiving the online order during business hours. After receiving confirmation, customers may pick up their merchandise in the customer service department of a convenient store, says Nordstrom.

The retailer stocks an online inventory of about 83,000 SKUs and operates a network of 159 stores in 28 states. “We continue to find new ways to serve our customers better, no matter how they choose to shop with us,” says Nordstrom president of stores Erik Nordstrom. “We’ve heard from our customers for some time now that they want this option and we’re excited to be able to provide it for them.”

Nordstrom, which spends about 8% of its annual capital expenditures on information technology, has taken steps of late to integrate web and store technology. “We recently completed a major technology project to integrate the inventory platforms of our retail and online businesses,” Nordstrom president Blake Nordstrom told analysts on the company’s recent first quarter earnings call. “Our vision is to have the breadth of Nordstrom’s inventory investment from full-line stores and direct available to each customer at the point of sale. We believe this will improve customer service as well as improve the efficient use of inventory, our largest ongoing investment.”

Nordstrom will count on the effective use of technology to help regain sales momentum. In the first quarter, total sales for Nordstrom decreased year-over-year by 3.8% to $1.88 billion while comparable store sales dropped by 6.5%. The company did not break out e-commerce revenue in its first quarter earnings release.

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