Nordstrom turns to texts for sales

May 20, 2015 12:15 PM

Nordstrom may be known for carrying the latest season’s fashions, but it’s turning to a relatively old-school mobile technology to bring in more sales.

The high-end department store, No. 19 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide this week launched a program called TextStyle at all of its 116 U.S.-based stores.

TextStyle exploits Nordstrom’s footprint of nationwide stores and trained associates and combines it with web ordering in an effort to drive increased sales.

To use the shopping program, a consumer opts in to Nordstrom’s Next texting service. Using Next, a shopper can send a store sales associate information on items she is seeking. For example, a shopper can use Next to tell an associate she is seeking a plaid button-down shirt. The salesperson can look for an item that fits the bill and then send her a private text message with a description or photo of a product. If the customer likes any of the recommended items, she can purchase by replying "buy" and entering a unique code. The purchase is completed using the customer's account information. Items ship directly to the customer with Nordstrom free standard delivery.

"TextStyle is an important step forward in our continued efforts to develop ways to serve customers on their terms," said Jamie Nordstrom, president of stores. "For customers who prefer text messaging, TextStyle is a way for our salespeople to provide a personalized styling experience and for customers to view and buy seamlessly with the convenience and simplicity of a text message, wherever and whenever they like."

Nordstrom developed the text-based shopping program with mobile technology company Twilio. Nordstrom salespeople use a 10-digit number unique to each consumer to communicate with each shopper.

In its most recent Q1 earnings ended May 2, posted a 20% increase in online sales to reach $480 million compared with $401 million in the first quarter of 2014. Total Q1 retail sales reached $3.19 billion, a 9.6% increase compared with $2.91 billion in Q1 a year earlier. Retail sales include sales in Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack stores in the U.S. and Canada, in addition to sales on, which Nordstrom acquired in the third quarter of 2014.


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