Nordstrom Announces In-Store Mobile Device Rollout Plans

Saying they will change the shopping experience for both customers and employees, Nordstrom president Blake Nordstrom announced that the retailer will deploy mobile devices for its store employees by this fall. Nordstrom has already paved the way for the rollout by equipping its 200-plus stores with WiFi capability.

Speaking at the Magento Imagine e-commerce conference held February 7-9 in Los Angeles, Nordstrom discussed how mobile technology would enhance the shopping experience, according to published reports. One example is a customer in a dressing room who would now be able to text or call an employee to get a different-sized clothing item. When an employee notes that a customer has left the store, the employee could send a thank-you note for visiting or making a purchase.

Nordstrom is the second big-name retailer to provide mobile devices to store employees. Home Depot's rollout of its First Phone multi-function mobile POS units to 1,970 of its stores, completed in October 2010, was the largest mobile deployment in retail history. Home Depot expects labor savings to pay for the program's $64 million price tag within one year, and cites customer service improvements and an enhanced shopping experience as important benefits of the technology.

While Nordstrom operates a fraction of the stores that Home Depot does, the company is known as a customer service leader that makes significant investments in technology. Blake Nordstrom cited the retailer's WiFi investments during a November 2010 conference call discussing the company's financial results. "Having [the WiFi] technology in place gives us the flexibility to further enhance the customer in-store experience," said Nordstrom. "These investments reflect our intention to be well positioned as the definition of service and experience continues to evolve."

For related content see: Nordstrom Upgrades Store, Online Technology as Part of $69 Million Spend

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