Nordstrom’s Tech-Powered Menswear Store, NY
Luxury American department store chain Nordstrom has opened its first men's only store in New York – where tech innovation takes centre stage alongside aftercare services and convenience-focused concepts. The emphasis on exceptional service reflects a recognition by high-end stores that they must work extra time to cosset and care for customers, particularly if they are to offer a long-term alternative to online shopping.
Men's clothing currently comprises 16% of Nordstrom's overall sales (compared with 32% for women's clothes). By 2020, the US market for menswear is predicted to grow by 3% to hit $33bn, an increase of 14% since 2015 (Edited, 2017). Womenswear is expected to grow by 2% over the same period.
The physical store experience retains significant appeal for men. "Last year, the percentage of young men who shopped in store outstripped that of young women," said Emily Gordon-Smith, Director of Consumer Product at Stylus. "Men are generally less likely to shop online for clothing than women are. Men are also more interested in personal styling and fitting room services – demonstrating that the traditional or evolved in-store experience is more appealing to men than it is to women."
Nordstrom Men's Store NYC opened in mid-April at 235 West 57th Street. The all-glass façade of the three-floor Midtown building adds plenty of natural light to its sleek 47,000 sq ft interior. It is home to over 200 brands including upscale labels such as Valentino and Calvin Klein, popular players such as Nike and Levi's, and hip brands such as US sneaker reseller Stadium Goods – spanning men's ready to wear, streetwear, activewear, accessories, grooming and footwear. Also in the mix is a shoe pop-up from French luxury designer Christian Louboutin on the lower ground floor and a year-long Comme des Garçons pop-up on the ground floor.
Numerous tech enhancements are designed for seamless cross-channel shopping. They include a Reserve Online & Try In Store system which allows consumers to choose up to 10 items on Nordstrom's website and find them waiting in the dressing room. A Nordstrom app feature allows shoppers to order a drink to the dressing room, and self-service return kiosks mean items bought online and in store can be scanned and deposited in a bin. Digital screens in the suit department also allow shoppers to scan fabric swatches and customise their orders on screen.
Reinforcing the convenience aspect, the store also offers a 24-hour click and collect service. This means shoppers can pick up ordered items at any time, even at night – with the feature designed to appeal especially to the emergency needs of business travellers (such as a fresh shirt for a business meeting). In-store items can also be delivered in the Manhattan area within three hours. See also Rapid Retail and Beta Blends.
Personal stylist appointments can be booked via Nordstrom's e-commerce site. Shoppers can also use tailoring, sneaker cleaning (see Aftercare Commerce) and shoe-shining services, enjoy drinks and food at The Clubhouse on the second floor, and visit a coffee bar on the lower ground floor.
For more on men's-focused retail, see Harvey Nichols' Discovery-Based Menswear Revamp.