In a bid to make shopping ever easier and keep its e-commerce edge, Nordstrom launched a shopping-via-text service at all of its department stores this month. Called TextStyle, the new service enables customers to shop and make purchases via text based on recommendations sent to their smartphones by a Nordstrom salesperson or personal shopper.
The new service builds on the company’s proprietary NEXT opt-in, one-to-one service (launched in 2014) that lets Nordstrom customers communicate with sales staff using their smartphones.
Here’s how it works:
- Customers using their NEXT texting account opt in to use TextStyle.
- Using TextStyle, a customer or salesperson sends a private text message with a description or photo of a product.
- If the customer likes any of the recommended items, they can purchase by simply replying “buy” plus a unique code.
- The purchase is completed using the customer’s Nordstrom.com account information.
- Items ship directly to the customer with Nordstrom free standard delivery.
With the launch of TextStyle, Nordstrom became the only US retail company (for now) that offers customers who opt in the ability to make purchases via text.
Indeed, technology is to online shopping what the cash register (patented in 1879) was to brick-and-mortar retail. Retailers from Walmart to Macy’s to Neiman Marcus are spending billions to boost their omnichannel capabilities to make shopping as easy and convenient as possible and capture a greater share of retail spend. Indeed, Neiman Marcus arms its salespeople with iPhones so they can text customers to alert them to the arrival of favorite merchandise or just keep in touch with preferred clients.
E-commerce accounted for 21% of the $9.7 billion rung up at Nordstrom’s full-line department stores last year (up from 14% two years ago), and the company is investing $1.5 billion over the next several years on technology to engage customers and drive sales.
What could be easier than texting “buy” to complete a purchase? Time will tell.
Alexandra Biesada shops every day, whether she wants to or not, and pines for the days when it was strictly a recreational activity. She has covered the retail beat for Hoover’s since 2001. Follow her on Twitter.