Friday, February 11, 2011

Just back from an internet conference in LA.

First, the weather was a gorgeous 26 degrees. Hummm... dreams of a SOCAL lifestyle. But I have to say that I received so many compliments on Vancouver from people at the conference. As we know, they thought it was one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Still nice to hear while travelling.

The conference was filled with speakers who highlighted the best in current and future technology innovation but there was a standout from all speakers.

Blake Nordstrom - President of Nordstrom.

Blake is an extremely sought after speaker, yet only gets on stage once or twice a year. He noted that more important that talking about customer service was actually doing it, so he feels his time is best spent in the stores. This was the best picture I could snap on my phone from the front row.

His talk was based around the old school notion that offering the best customer service, getting to build life long relationships with customers and offering a unique customer experience will make your business successful. "Who Knew!!" One point that jumped out for me was when he said a customer complaint is the best opportunity - "the customer is saying, I want to love you but I can't right now".

Blake went on to talk about where he sees technology and social media entering the retail environment. Imagine walking into a Nordstrom store, your smart phone beeps with a text saying "Welcome back" and informing you of the latest specials in the sizes and styles you prefer. You click on a few items right on your smart phone, and the items are picked off the floor and placed in a dressing room by a Nordstrom personal shopper. BING - your dressing room is ready - door #3. Now as you try on your choices, you would like to see the matching pants/different color/size, and you tap your smart phone to have these items brought right to your dressing room. Need help deciding on your outfit? How about seeing what your friends think as you send them a "like" email or how about accessing your very own webcam from right in your dressing room. Friends can login and offer live opinions from anywhere in the world. OK, all done? Your personal shopper can check you out right from the dressing room using their smart phone or you can scan your choices yourself with your phone and just walk out of the store. Although much of this scenario does not currently exist, it is just a matter of time.

As you see, innovative retailers are not fearing online selling but instead embracing it. Nordstrom currently does over one billion online, but Blake feels that the sales channels will become more grey, and offline and online will work in harmony to offer great Nordstrom customer experiences.