NORDSTROM is an American upscale fashion retailer with over 250 stores located across 36 states. Their online portal nordstrom.com receives over 20 million visits each month making it one of the largest and most successful online shopping sites in the world.
In addition to their main site, Nordstrom also sell online through nordstromrack.com, a relatively new site offering discounted fashion products and through its online private sale site, HauteLook.
Product Line (5/5)
Nordstrom began as a shoe shop over one hundred years ago, and shoes remain their flagship product line. However they also have an extensive range of designer clothing, accessories, handbags, beauty and other products.
Nordstrom promote themselves as providing ‘affordable luxury’ – taking a bet both ways so to speak, and is reflected in the type of brands they retail.
Nordstrom.com is the website for the standard flagship brand.
It’s a slick site with great graphics and functionality.
Similarly Nordstromrack.com maintains the same upmarket and stylish feel as the flagship brand.
Rewards Program (1.5/5)
NORDSTROM REWARDS is the consumer rewards program attached to Nordstrom’s in-house debit and credit cards or with their branded Visa Signature card.
Members earn 2 points for every $1 they spend at Nordstrom using their card. Once the members has earned 2000 points they will receive a $20 Nordstrom Note to use as credit. This equates to 2% cash back, though members do have access to up to four (depending on level) self-designated triple point days.
The ‘level’ of your membership depends on the amount of money you spend at Nordstrom’s during a calendar year.
The unique and possibly best feature of membership is the access to 100% reimbursement (in the form of Nordstrom Notes for levels 1-3, and cash for level 4) for alterations on Nordstom purchases. Yearly caps apply based on membership level.
Membership is either connected to your bank account with a Nordstrom Rewards Debit card, or by using credit. You can also get a Nordstrom branded Visa Signature Card and earn points for expenditure earned for purchases spent outside Nordstrom’s.
At stayhomeshopping we’re not big fans of this Rewards Program. The cash-back is amongst the lowest on offer of equivalent retailers and the requirement to pay using the Nordstrom card precludes the use of another credit card at purchase and any of the associated benefits you might get from using the other card, such as airline miles.
Nevertheless, if you’re a regular shopper and likely to take advantage of the alterations service then it’s certainly worth considering joining given it’s free.
Customer service and returns (5/5)
Nordstrom has a legendary reputation for its liberal returns policy. The website simply states with regard to returns:
Don’t love it? Don’t worry—returns and exchanges are easy. Simply send your item back or bring it to a store near you.
Often cited is a story about a man who was once refunded for tires from an Alaskan branch – when Nordstrom have never sold tires…ever. Although the company (now) claims that the story is true , there is some doubt about its veracity.
Christian Conte in the Jacksonville Business Journal sums it up nicely:
Whether the story is true or not, the fact is that, unlike at most other stores, Nordstrom will generally take your purchase back without a receipt if it carries the item in question. Items that clearly couldn’t have been sold at Nordstrom however (like snow tires and chainsaws) aren’t eligible for return.
For the US-based online shopper, return shipping is free by using the return slip and no time limit is made explicit. In fact, Nordstrom staff are advised to apply common sense, whatever that is!
It’s important to note that Nordstrom Rack has a much stricter returns policy and many customers have been caught out assuming that the normal returns apply for the discount wing of Nordstrom. They don’t.
International customers also have a different, less generous, return policy, though clearly as good, if not better than its competitors.
Standard shipping is FREE. No coupons or minimum orders are required. Charges apply for faster delivery.
Nordstrom also offer “buy-onlie-pick-it-up-in store”.
Nordstrom.com geo-defaults meaning that international customers will see their pricing in their own currencies. Shipping is provided through Borderfree.
Nordstrom will allow those with odd-sized feet to order two pairs of shoes and return, free of charge, the ‘odd-pair’ for a full refund.
Nordstrom claim that “Nordstrom Rack is where style meets savings” and it’s an apt description for the ‘budget’ side of their business. The products on sale are typically the same upmarket product – but perhaps last year’s fashion or an overstock or the like.
Savvy stay at home shoppers really should look through Nordstrom Rack first if they’re just a little budget conscious.
As noted above, Nordstrom Rack has a different return policy and charges shipping for orders under $100. Shoppers should be aware of this and read the terms carefully.