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Retailers expanding their digital options for customers

Originally published by Janet I. Tu, business reporter, on The Seattle Times.

As retailers make big pushes into e-commerce, they’re also working to bring more digital technology into their physical stores.

Nordstrom digital options

Nordstrom and CashStar, a digital gift-card platform company, lets Nordstrom customers select a gift online and then have the recipient pick their own size, color and other details.

When Nordstrom and digital gift-card company CashStar rolled out Product eGifting this week, it was the latest in a series of technological offerings the upscale clothier launched this year—and a precursor of more to come.

It was also among a host of technological innovations retailers have made this year to draw and retain customers whose shopping habits are increasingly shifting online.

Product eGifting, in which customers can choose a gift from a retailer’s website to send directly via email, are among the technological features retailers have added. Shopping centers such as Alderwood mall have websites and apps that can tell customers which parking lots are full and which have spaces.

Nordstrom has made a big push in recent years into e-commerce, which now makes up more than a fifth of its sales. Earlier this year, it launched features for its mobile app, including the ability to reserve items online to try on in stores, search for items by preferred store, and identify exact or closely matching items from Nordstrom’s stock by taking a photo of an item.

It’s currently testing an app that allows sales associates to browse the online assortment, then send item and outfit recommendations to customers to purchase, said Danny Ryder, Nordstrom’s vice president of online merchandising and digital experience.

Read the press release.

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