Nordstrom has tapped NuOrder to provide it with a cloud-based platform to help streamline and add greater insight to the wholesale buying and assortment selection process involving the retailer and its supplier brands, according to a NuOrder press release e-mailed to Retail Dive.
The platform will allow Nordstrom and its brand partners to upload product catalogs, take notes and capture purchase intent, while giving Nordstrom’s own buyers deeper visibility into available product lines, and a complete view of all of the merchandise assortments they plan to offer for sale during an upcoming season, the press release stated.
NuOrder said that several brands that already work with Nordstrom to sell products can be viewed on its platform, including Coach, ASICS, Lacoste, Levi’s, Shiseido and Theory.
In the era of fast fashion retail, department stores need to work harder to make sure they have the full range of assortments and on-trend products that consumers will want, but without ending up with excess and unfashionable inventory that no one wants. Having too much inventory or not enough of the right inventory is a problem that has haunted department stores for years, although recent department store earnings reports from Nordstrom and others show that they are doing a better job of understanding merchandise on hand, positively affecting their bottom-line financial health.
It's something they must continue to do to remain competitive, but technology can make the job easier. The traditional assortment selection and merchandise buying process can be vastly improved by providing buyers with broader, deeper views into what’s available and what they already have committed to, as well as a common platform that allows them to more closely collaborate with the brands supplying that merchandise.
However, a more streamlined approach to buying from brands is not necessarily all about cutting out extra inventory. It’s also about helping Nordstrom identify gaps in its product assortments, and opportunities to spend more of its buying power on merchandise it may not have been aware of or interested in otherwise. As retailers are becoming more selective about inventory, it can be valuable for them to have a platform that’s also a collaboration space, encouraging a closer relationship with their retail partners.
This effort is the latest step in Nordstrom’s ongoing campaign to invest more in digital technology. It also comes about three months after Nordstrom filled its long-vacant CTO job with the hiring of Edmond Mesrobian. The new CTO has come into a situation in which Nordstrom investors want to see some payoff for ongoing expenditures in new technology. A platform that streamlines wholesale buying, effectively improving a traditional core aspect of the retailer’s operations, should help.