Nordstrom Melds Its Online And In-Store Inventory

Retailing giant increased sales dramatically using a simple strategy.

Over the last 11 months, Nordstrom has increased its sales by making a unique, yet surprisingly simple change in the way it handles its inventory. The company has linked the physical inventory in all of its 115 regular stores to the inventory in its online store, effectively displaying all its stock on its website. Which means, even if the online warehouse is out of stock for an item, the site will still show it as long as it is available in one of its physical stores. The online shopper can then choose it and a store employee will ship it to him.

NY Times has more details:

The change works this way: Say that a shopper was looking at a blue Marc Jacobs handbag at Nordstrom.com. She could see where it was available at nearby stores, and reserve it for pickup the same day.

More significant, if the Web warehouse was out of that bag, it did not matter. Inventory from Nordstrom’s 115 regular stores is also included. Maybe there was just one handbag left in the entire company, sitting forlornly in the back of the Roosevelt Field store — it would be displayed online and store employees would ship it to the Web customer.

With none of its major competitors using this strategy, the results were immediate for Nordstrom. Since last year when they made this change, Nordstrom’s store sales has increased by 8 percent and the percentage of customers who bought after searching for an item on their site has doubled.

Nordstrom

NY Times: “Nordstrom Links Online Inventory to Real World”

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