Rethink What Traditional Retail Could Be

Recently, the department store Nordstrom announced that it’s preparing to roll out an innovative new line of stores without merchandise called Nordstrom Local. The small-format space is centered around personal shoppers and services. Is this a reinvention of retail or a complete rebirth of a brand’s commerce model?

Since the 1950s, traditional retail has been the foundation of consumer spending and still holds 90% of all volume, even as technology and human behaviors shift toward faster and more convenient methods of consuming.

Over the past decade, retailers have tried to adapt and stay ahead of trends to combat the shrinking traditional retail model by delivering alternative solutions, driven by human-centric behavior and the rise in technology, in order to satisfy consumer demand for quicker, more relevant and convenient commerce models.

But why do we continue to model these modern commerce deliveries after traditional behaviors, a place (physical or digital) where merchandise and messaging are displayed in a way designed to steer a shopper toward a better, more relevant choice?

This Nordstrom store demonstrates that retailers are daring to ask the questions like, “what about our customers?” What do they expect from a higher-end, luxury department store? Does it make sense to expect our shoppers to browse through racks upon racks of merchandise, or have we created an environment of curation and personal interaction? By putting the Nordstrom customer first and abandoning the instinct of traditional retail, Nordstrom allowed itself to truly rebuild a luxury commerce model that meets the needs and expectations of the brand.

What would it be like if we imagined a world where the traditional retail model never existed? How would that change our perspective on how we think about our own consumers and their expectations and needs of our retail delivery models?

Contributed By: Stephen Moon, Integer Dallas

Image Source: NPR