Nordstrom is laying off 106 customer care specialist positions nationwide. These employees answer customer questions via phone, online chat or email. “We’ve made a number of investments across our business to make shopping easier and more convenient for our customers,” Nordstrom said in a statement. “One of the results of that has been a decrease in the number of customers who reach out to Customer Care for support, which has put us in the position of being overstaffed on that team. The jobs cuts came last week, however, Nordstrom is paying employees through April 1.
Total Retail’s Take: Nordstrom has been focusing on growing its e-commerce business. However, with an increased concentration on driving consumers to its website, it would be expected that the retailer sees an increase in customer contact via email, online chat and phone. These job cuts seem a bit surprising, especially considering sales at Nordstrom.com were up 8 percent for the fourth quarter. For the fiscal year 2016, online sales were up 9.5 percent. Perhaps the easier shopping experience online is translating into more transactions, and less of a need for customer service.