by John Egan

In its effort to deliver a robust omnichannel experience, fashion specialty retailer Nordstrom has made sure one accessory, if you will, accentuates the entire shopping ensemble.

Nordstrom has pretty seamlessly woven mobile into its omnichannel strategy.

“Mobile is integral for the customers’ shopping experience and accounts for more than half of our online traffic. We’re continually testing and rolling out new ways to connect the physical and digital experiences,” Blake Nordstrom, co-president of Nordstrom, told Wall Street analysts during a recent earnings call.

At DMA’s &THEN marketing conference Oct. 8-10 in New Orleans, attendees will get a closer look at Nordstrom’s omnichannel approach in “How Mobile is Redefining Omni-Channel.” Brian Hovis, vice president of marketing at Nordstrom, will be one of the speakers at a session about how mobile is redefining omnichannel. Other speakers are Michael Marino, chief experience officer at Caesars Entertainment, and Marc Parrish, chief marketing officer at data analysis startup ActionIQ.

Nordstrom has been recognized as a leader in integrating mobile into the omnichannel shopping experience. For instance, last year the retailer introduced the ability for a customer to reserve a clothing item on the Nordstrom mobile app and then try on that item at a nearby store.

This feature, set to be available at 50 Nordstrom stores by the end of this year, is called “Reserve Online & Try In Store.” Blake Nordstrom says 80 percent of customers who’ve tried the service decide to shop that way again.

“We realize that customers want to shop on their terms,” Shea Jensen, senior vice president of customer experience at Nordstrom, told GeekWire. “Reserve & Try In Store is a way to help make the shopping experience easier for customers who like to touch, feel and try on items before buying them. We hope it helps combine the convenience of shopping online with a quick and efficient in-store experience.”

As noted by RetailDive, an app-using Nordstrom customer can set a preferred store, browse items available in that store, and then select “Reserve & Try In Store” to confirm a time to find out how the clothing looks and fits.

Nordstrom allows up to 10 items to be reserved through “Reserve & Try In Store” and notifies a customer within two hours (during store hours) by text message when items are ready to try on, according to RetailDive. The clothing is held in reserve until the store closes the next day.

“The combination of our physical and digital assets represents a competitive advantage,” Blake Nordstrom told Wall Street analysts. “Our local-market assets — our stores, salespeople, product and services — are the core of our brand and play an important role in engaging with our customers. Nearly 80 percent of customers who shop with us across multiple channels began in our stores.”

Nordstrom has seen positive results from its digital assets. In the second quarter of 2017, the retailer reported slightly more than $1 billion in online sales, up 21.2 percent from the same quarter last year. Overall, online accounted for 27.4 percent of sales in the second quarter, up from 23.4 percent in the year-ago period.

L2 Inc., a provider of data and insights about digital performance, says mobile is “the secret ingredient” for true omnichannel success, as one-third of online purchases happen on mobile devices and mobile consumes two-thirds of our digital time. Focusing only on a website and a store is merely a bi-channel strategy, L2 says.

“Forward-thinking brands regard the opportunity through mobile as extending beyond just the rendering of their website onto a smaller screen,” L2 says in a blog post about omnichannel. “Instead, it has the potential to enhance the whole online and in-store shopping experience.”

“In a mobile-first world,” L2 adds, “there’s a big opportunity for retailers to stand out by removing the internal silos that create barriers between different channels and instead double down on creating a truly exceptional omnichannel shopping experience for their customers.”

This article is brought to you by &THEN, DMA’s annual event. Click here to join the leaders of the marketing community and explore how data transforms marketing in New Orleans, October 8-10. Save over $300 when you register online.