Nordstorm's Online-Offline Inventory Integration

A new addition to the well regarded customer service efforts of Nordstrom:a seamless integration between the company's online and offline inventory.

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

Though it seems like a no-brainer to allow customers to purchase any item sold by a single retailer, the unusual thing about this story is that many traditional retailers aren't already doing it.

Since making this change almost a year ago, Nordstrom's same-store sales have outperformed the department store average, with an average of 8% same-store sales increase. In the 11 months before the shift, there was an average decrease of 11.9%. Combining its online and offline warehouses has certainly increased Nordstrom's sales rates. Beyond that, it means more items are sold at full price. An online shopper may want a certain bag while browsing online in California, while in Michigan the same bag could waste away on the shelf until it eventually goes on sale. By giving all Nordstrom customers access to the item, chances are it will sell faster — and for more money.