Nordstrom to Accept Macy's, Kohl's Returns at NYC Local Stores
Nordstrom, which opens two “Nordstrom Local” concept stores in Manhattan this month, will accept product returns from rivals like Macy’s and Kohl’s in the new small-format locations, regardless of whether Nordstrom carries the same item. Returns can be a pain point for both the customer and retailer, and shoppers want a convenient way to drop off unwanted items, said Jamie Nordstrom, president of Nordstrom stores. The focus on services is part of the upscale department store’s strategy to win over picky New York shoppers as it makes a big push into the competitive retail market.
Total Retail's Take: Ease of returns is a differentiator for retailers in a competitive market, and a major consideration for consumers when making purchase decisions. Nordstrom's decision to accept returns from its competitors is a first for the upscale department store chain, and is being made with the busy New York City shopper in mind. With a focus on services and eschewing products, Nordstrom's Local store concept is positioned as a convenience hub for consumers, not just another store where they can get the same product anywhere else. While Nordstrom's strategy to accept returns from rival retailers is unusual, there is precedent for such a tactic: Kohl's has been accepting Amazon.com returns in its stores for quite some time, and has benefitted from incremental in-store traffic and sales as a result. For the Nordstrom Local stores in New York, incremental sales won't be the measuring stick for this initiative, but rather the market share it’s able to pick up.