Nordstrom adds text to buy

Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) has launched TextStyle, a way for shoppers to make purchases from a personal salesperson or stylist via text messages.

In 2014, the retailer launched NEXT, an opt-in, secure one-to-one service that lets Nordstrom customers who prefer texting communicate with their salesperson using their smartphone. TextStyle leverages the security, privacy and capabilities built into the Nordstrom NEXT texting service.

TextStyle lets associates send new product recommendations to customers with an SMS. If the shopper likes any of the recommended items, they can purchase by replying "buy" and sending a unique code.

Shoppers can also initiate communication, sending their salesperson a text message with a product description or photo. All purchases are then completed with the customer's Nordstrom account information on file and items ship directly with free shipping. The program was developed in partnership with Twilio to satisfy Nordstrom's search for a simple, convenient way to communicate directly with shoppers, according to Nordstrom spokesman Dan Evans.

TextStyle is not part of Nordstrom's mobile app, but rather a separate service offered to customers individually. It assignes a 10-digit number to each salesperson, who can then use it as they would a dedicated office line or email, complete with out-of-office replies.

"TextStyle is an important step forward in our continued efforts to develop ways to serve customers on their terms," said Jamie Nordstrom, president of stores. "For customers who prefer text messaging, TextStyle is a way for our salespeople to provide a personalized styling experience and for customers to view and buy seamlessly with the convenience and simplicity of a text message, wherever and whenever they like."

"Nearly one-third of our customers have told us that they really like texting as a form of communication," Evans told FierceMobileRetail. And while it's likely a younger shopper that prefers or is most comfortable with SMS, "We don't develop it based on that, we think about the customer," Evans said.

Adoption and use rates have not been divulged, but Nordstrom has been at the forefront of technology adoption, even establishing its own technology innovation lab. And, as part of a $1 billion capital investment program, Nordstrom is strengthening its e-commerce offerings; testing out smart fitting rooms in select stores; and upgrading its POS systems, mobile site and online checkout process.

Retailers continue to find ways for shoppers to make mobile purchases easier. Nordstrom was recently voted as having the No. 1 most satisfying online shopping experience in a Market Force Information study, with 56 percent of customers saying they were very satisfied, which resulted in a 72 percent conversion rate. Not surprisingly, Nordstrom also tops the list for most engaged retail brand on Pinterest, according to recent data collected on Curalate.

For more:
-See this Nordstrom press release

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