Nordstrom to text product messages, photos to customers

Employees at Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) can now text photos of merchandise to interested customers.

Nordstrom has partnered with cloud communications company Twilio to create a texting service that will allow the retailer to get shoppers interested in new merchandise and drive traffic to brick-and-mortar stores.

"As customers' definition of service evolves and technology rapidly changes, we need to offer a great experience that works for customers on their terms," said Scott Jones, VP of personalization at Nordstrom. "Many customers have told us they prefer to connect with their salesperson by text messaging. Using the Nordstrom texting app, NEXT, our salespeople are able to share recommendations, product images and timely reminders of upcoming events in a safe, secure and seamless manner with our customer in control of the experience at all times."

The platform, Twilio MMS, helps retailers integrate images into applications and customer interactions. Before the program, adding MMC communications required a special short code, achieved through a process which takes as long as 15 weeks. This process was also costly for retailers—around $10,000 annually.

However, Twilio now offers a platform to make MMS available on U.S. phone numbers, thereby eliminating the wait time and reducing the upfront cost to $1. The idea: allow brands and retailers the ability to send MMS communications, and quickly.

"Now, by enabling the immediate, low-cost ability to send and receive pictures, videos and more via Twilio's APIs, we're excited to enable a new generation of rich media applications. We can't wait to see what customers build," said Jeff Lawson, Twilio CEO.

Using images to draw consumer interest isn't new to Nordstrom. Last month the company partnered with Like2Buy, a platform that enables shopping on Instagram. The company's omnichannel approach, including in-store video screens featuring shopping site Wanelo and digital storefronts inside shopping malls, is part of a greater effort to woo millennial shoppers.

Nordstrom recently reported a 22 percent increase in e-commerce sales for the second quarter. The retailer has made a big push for online this year through efforts such as the investment of $79 million in an online distribution center back in January.

For more:
-See this Nordstrom press release

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