Nordstrom: Following, Bending & Breaking the Rules
In the early 1990s I gave a talk to the Minneapolis Direct Marketing Club. On the way to the airport, my old and dear friend Kathy detoured to let me prowl the vaunted Mall of America, that gloriously glitzy testament to the shop-’til-you-drop mentality: the largest indoor mall in the world, complete with an amusement park in the center.
As we passed the jewelry department of Nordstrom, I spied a ring in the window that seemed right for my wife, Peggy. We went inside and were greeted by a sales clerk named Janice, who sold me the ring. Later that day I presented the ring to Peggy, who was happy with it.
End of story? Not quite. For a full two years following my purchase, I periodically received hand-signed notes from Janice alerting me to special sales or events or just wishing me well. All the attention she showered on me made me feel guilty. At one point I felt I should really go out to Minneapolis just so I could buy something from Janice. It was textbook-correct customer relationship management. Nordstrom does things right.
The Nordstrom Catalog
The 76-page, full-color “Clothes for Life” book from Nordstrom may have the very best cover on a catalog (or a magazine, for that matter) that I’ve ever seen—a true photographic masterpiece depicting a mother hugging her daughter, who has recently come out of the ocean, in a happy tangle of arms and legs (see page 39).
The composition is the classic triangle of a Renaissance master; focus on any element of the picture and the eye is led around the triangle until it returns to the centerpiece—the spectacular Julia Roberts-like smile that would light up an entire room.
The only violation of the triangle is the model’s sandy right big toe and left leg; both point to the edge of the cover, the implication being, “Open me! Open me!” And I cannot imagine not opening this catalog with so happy a photo on the cover.