Nordstrom Rolling Out 1,500 Mobile Devices to Rack Stores

Following tests that showed mobile POS successfully sped up the checkout process in its Rack stores, Nordstrom will roll out approximately 1,500 of the devices to its 110 Rack units by the end of Q3. This deployment is in addition to the mobile POS technology already in use in Nordstrom's 117 full-line stores.

"We are constantly adding to the functionality of our mobile point-of-sale devices and their use in our stores is increasing," said Nordstrom president Blake Nordstrom during a recent conference call discussing Q2 financial results. "By the end of the year, they will have all of the capabilities of our existing cash registers."

Nordstrom executives did identify differences in its use of mobile technology in full-line versus Rack stores. In the former, Nordstrom plans for its mobile POS devices to exceed fixed-terminal functionality by next year, with associates using them during multiple parts of the shopping and purchasing process.

"I believe we're up over 75% of our fixed POS capability that is now onto our mobile device. We've added a lot this year, things like return capabilities," said Erik Nordstrom, the retailer's executive vice president and president of stores. "There are some personal book capabilities that still need to be added that will get us to the 100%."

While mobile POS provides speed and convenience in both store types, in the full-line stores "there's more of the benefits of that one-to-one personal interaction between the salesperson and the customer," said Erik Nordstrom. "It doesn't happen at the counter with other people around. It can happen in the dressing room, it can happen at the shoe store. And all that functionality is being able to more personalize our connection with the customers.

"For the Rack, it's a little easier to understand and draw the direct line benefits," he added. "It's speed. It just makes that line significantly shorter." In addition, the opportunity to remove some checkout counters in Rack stores provides more selling square footage on the floor, which he calls "prime real estate."

The retailer had a strong second quarter: for the period ending July 28, net sales of $2.92 billion represented a 7.4% increase over the same period last year. Same-store sales grew 4.5%, and direct sales rose 40%, outpacing the rest of the company and reflecting its investments in e-commerce.

Following a revamp of its Fashion Rewards loyalty program earlier this year, new accounts have risen 20% during the first six months of fiscal 2012, on top of a 66% increase the previous year, with program members spending 20% more relative to last year. In addition, Nordstrom has just launched a new iPad app to facilitate browsing and sales via mobile commerce.

For related content: Nordstrom Mobile POS to Exceed Fixed Terminal Functionality by 2013

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