Customer Experience Round-Up: February 10

The retail apocalypse. The end of brick-and-mortar. The death of traditional shopping. The evolution of retail has been called many things, but just because the landscape is changing doesn’t mean stores are gone for good. This week brought three stories of how retail stores are evolving to offer customer experiences that best meet the needs of modern customers, even if that means closing some stores. 

Nordstrom Starts Selling Secondhand Items

Nordstrom is giving items a second chance as it starts selling used items online and at its flagship store in New York City. The resale store, called See You Tomorrow, is full of items typically sold at Nordstrom, but these items are lightly used and come mainly from customer returns. The initial items were handpicked by Nordstrom leaders and professionally cleaned before hitting the sales racks. The move taps into a growing demand from consumers for sustainable and used clothing. The resale market is already worth $7 billion and is expected to triple by 2023.

Sustainability is important for consumers, and the fashion industry is notorious for being bad for the environment. Nordstrom’s expansion to secondhand items not only makes it part of a growing trend with consumers but also helps the retailer improve its environmental footprint. A huge number of female customers—Nordstrom’s main demographic—purchased resale items last year, so a secondhand shop could be big business for Nordstrom and great for customers and the environment.

Sephora Announces Its Biggest Physical Retail Expansion

At a time when many retailers are closing their physical stores, Sephora is going against the trend and opening 100 new stores in 2020, its biggest physical retail expansion to date. Sephora will focus on expanding outside of traditional shopping malls to be closer to where its target customers live and work. The new stores will be slightly smaller than the mall stores and focus on the two areas where Sephora has seen the biggest recent growth: fragrance and hair care.

Sephora is going against the trend of closing retail stores because it is willing to adapt its strategy to do what works for customers. By creating smaller stores closer to customers, the brand is able to give customers exactly what they want and specialize products in its most profitable areas. Retail isn’t dead, but it does need to evolve and adapt. Sephora shows that staying agile can lead to brick-and-mortar success. 

Macy’s To Close 125 Stores In Hopes Of Future Growth

Department store staple Macy’s is taking a risk by closing 125 stores and moving its headquarters in hopes of stimulating future growth. Over the next three years, Macy’s will close the stores, move its headquarters from Cincinnati and cut 2,000 corporate jobs. In the long run, the company hopes to shift its focus from weaker shopping malls to smaller stores in strip malls and standalone locations. Streamlining internal processes will also help the company save money, which it can reinvest into stores for future growth.

How consumers shop is changing. People used to go to Macy’s for their clothing and household needs, but now more people shop online or at specialized stores. This example showcases the importance of a cohesive internal structure. By focusing on cost-savings and efficiency internally, Macy’s should be able to restructure its stores to offer a better experience to customers outside of shopping malls.

Brick-and-mortar isn’t dead, but it is changing. Brands that stay close to customers and evolve to meet their needs can still have great success in the physical space. These stories show that companies need to take time to re-evaluate their offerings to create the best possible customer experience.

Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and the author of two books including her new book The Customer Of The Future. You can learn more by signing up for her newsletter here.

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