June 09, 2014

Online / Retail Dynamics - Nordstrom

When I worked at Nordstrom, circa 2006, we knew that our "multi-channel" customers exhibited a consistent behavior:

  • 3 Website Visits Per Month.
  • 2 In-Store Visits Per Month.
  • 1 Purchase Per Month, 85% In-Store.
We also knew that online customers, after a first purchase, were more likely to migrate to retail than to stay within the online channel.

We also knew that retail customers, after a first purchase, were going to stay within the retail channel, using the website to research an upcoming in-store experience.

Tactically, you change your thinking when you understand the role that your website and mobile experience play in the customer relationship.

Specifically, there is no reason to demand a "conversion" on a website when the customer uses the website to research an in-store purchase. I know, I know, this runs counter to everything you've been taught. But come on!

In a retail environment (same thing with a catalog environment), the website is far more likely to play a research role than a commerce role. This means you want to recognize the customer upon a visit. If that customer is a "retail researcher", then give the customer what s/he wants - don't demand a purchase today.

Tomorrow, we'll look at one of the segments from yesterday's image (shown below).


  1. Kevin, i'm never afraid to ask the stupid question so here goes...
    How do you know those customers are visiting a website and then visiting a store?

  2. With technology today, it's not terribly difficult.

    In 2006, it wasn't easy. So we surveyed our customers, asking them how often they visited the store (giving us store visits). We combined that data with our web analytics integration (we took Coremetrics data and merged it at the cookie level with our in-store point-of-sale data) to get online + retail purchases.

  3. Wow, you were combining cookie data with in-store POS in 2006! I'm holding out for a Google Analytics POS! Thanks for the insight Kevin, fascinating stuff.

  4. Yes, we integrated our systems in the 2004-2005 timeframe, and could perform the analysis in 2006.


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