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Brief Published: 1 Apr 2021

Nordstrom & Selfridges Borrow Broadcasting Tactics


Forward-thinking department stores are looking to broadcast tactics to drive sales and engage pandemic-era consumers. US chain Nordstrom is taking on live-stream e-commerce – a market already worth over $60bn in China (Forbes, 2020), while British group Selfridges is banking on the audio boom with a new nature-focused podcast series.

The first example of a department store with a dedicated live-stream division, Nordstrom Live is a QVC-esque live shopping platform that allows fans to RSVP for events, and notifies them when they’re about to begin. Recent events include a styling live stream for Burberry's S/S 21 looks, and a conversation with British make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury. Viewers click shoppable links alongside the broadcasts to purchase products directly from Nordstrom’s e-commerce site and participate in live chat.

As described in Covid-19 & Beyond: Leveraging Live-Stream Commerce, the interactive nature and additional context of these experiences hold increasing resonance – which extends to virtual consultations. In March, US/UK technologists Hero, whose app-based tech lets associates in physical spaces talk to consumers online, revealed that consumers routinely spend up to 70% more online via personalised, video-based shopping experiences. See Retail’s New Servicescapes for more.

Meanwhile, Selfridges is banking on audio to bolster its eco-ethical five-year initiative Project Earth. The store’s podcasting channel, Hot Air, has launched Good Nature – diving into biophilic-based pleasures. The first episode involves a patchwork of voices discussing simple pleasures, such as the sound of rainfall.

Department-store-branded podcasts aren’t new – Harrods and Liberty (both British) also have ongoing series – but they remain a powerful commercial opportunity. The most recent large-scale US survey found that 54% of podcast listeners are more likely to purchase from a brand after hearing it advertised on a podcast (Edison Research, 2019).

For more, see Audio: The New Social Platform, Retail Meets Media and #7: Broadcast Base Camps in Brand Spaces: 10 Trends & Opportunities, 21/22.