Case Study

Nordstrom: A culture of service

15 pages
May 2013
Reference: IMD-6-0343

While Nordstrom’s customer service was widely admired, the pace of change in retailing was accelerating and expectations around customer service were rising. Mobile shopping (or m-commerce) was quickly becoming the fastest growing space online. And the unparalleled access consumers had to information was tipping the balance of power in favor of customers. In response, Nordstrom had evolved into a multichannel retailer and was seeking ways to satisfy its customers’ new definition of service. By 2012, Nordstrom had grown from one downtown Seattle shoe store to serving customers in 44 countries and 31 states. With a new record of $11.8 billion in net sales in 2012 and gross profit margins averaging about 38.8%, Nordstrom’s strategy seemed to be working. Online sales surpassed $1 billion for the first time, with mobile devices accounting for more than 20% of Nordstrom’s total online sales. This reinforced the importance of online retailing and the significant growth potential it offered. But would the company’s culture of service be able to keep pace with its customers in the digital age?

Learning Objective

The case introduces participants to the challenge of provide outstanding customer service in the retail sector in the digital age. It will help participants gain an understanding of how e-commerce is changing the concept of customer service. It also explores how Nordstrom – a company with a deeply engrained customer service culture – is reshaping its strategy and expanding its multichannel capabilities to keep up with its customers accelerating.

Keywords
Services, Customer Service, Retail Services, Internet Retailing, Online Retailing, Mobile Retailing, Multichannel Retailing, Retail, Clothing, Production Management, Operations Management
Settings
United States of America
2012
Type
Published Sources
Copyright
© 2013
Available Languages
English
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