Nordstrom on Monday released a holiday gift guide emphasizing services like styling advice and gift wrapping, with opportunities to interact virtually. "Gifting experts" will be available via online chat and video, as well as in-store appointments, according to an emailed press release.
The retailer Oct. 26 will extend curbside pickup, with gift-wrapped items available curbside at Nordstrom and Local stores as of Nov. 1. The Trunk Club styling box is being billed as a "try before you buy" opportunity for home, kids and beauty, in addition to its usual men's and women's apparel.
Nordstrom Rack has been swept into the department store's holiday ecosystem with "Rack Friday" deals during Black Friday weekend that will include daily deals, flash sales and a clearance sale.
As early as August, Nordstrom executives realized that they'd have to get started on the holidays earlier this year, given the expectation for more online shopping as consumers continue to avoid stores due to the risks of the pandemic.
"We've had this long-held tradition that we don't decorate our stores until after Thanksgiving, and it may be the thing that we get more positive comments about from customers than anything else we do, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't be in a position of selling customers what they want when they want it, and I think it's pretty clear that there's an opportunity for us to sell gifts prior to Thanksgiving," Nordstrom Chief Brand Officer Pete Nordstrom said during a second-quarter conference call with analysts.
Amazon arguably launched this year's holiday shopping season with its delayed Prime Day event last week, which roughly matches the timing that retail analysts expected this year. Several retailers are steeling themselves against a fourth quarter overshadowed by the pandemic, taking lessons from the second quarter's fiscal and operational nightmare.
The pandemic has made the holidays this year particularly problematic for Nordstrom, which has long emphasized its attention to customers, including a range of services like tailoring and styling advice. With pandemic experts dictating distance as a precaution against COVID-19 and many consumers wary of spending much time indoors, the department store has established alternatives. Its customers by now are likely familiar with options like chat and video calls.
The company's embrace of its Nordstrom Rack off-price business for the holiday period carries on its pre-pandemic effort to meld its operations. This month Rack is offering online order pickup for Nordstrom.com, NordstromRack.com and HauteLook.com purchases, and will begin fulfilling online orders from NordstromRack.com and HauteLook.com at nearby Nordstrom and Nordstrom Local locations later this year.