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Nordstroms Strategic Plan

In: Business and Management

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It all started with a man named John W. Nordstrom. I n1887, a 16 year old boy from Sweden left his home country for New York City, with only five dollars in his pocket, and not speaking a word of English. John crossed the United States working to make ends meet, and after two years he earned 13,000 dollars, and was ready to go into a partnership with a man named Carl Wallin. In 1901 the two opened their very own shoe sore, Wallin & Nordstrom, in downtown Seattle. John’s business philosophy was based on exceptional service, selection, quality and value, which ended up becoming a retail legend, also allowing them to build a customer base, and open their second store in 1923. In 1928, John Nordstrom sold his share of the company to his sons, and in 1933 Carl retired and sold his shares to the Nordstrom brothers.
Nordstrom’s began building their reputation becoming the largest independent show chain in the U.S. In 1960, the company expanded offering customers shoes and fine apparel, called Nordstrom Best. Then in 1966, they offered men’s clothing and children’s wear. The company went public in 1971 just after the sales passed $100 million mark, and the company was recognized as the largest volume West Coast fashion specialty store. This same year, the name was changed to Nordstrom, Inc. Nordstrom’s today focuses on catering to customer’s needs, and individuality. They do not categorize their merchandise by departments, but by individual’s lifestyles. Nordstrom’s now offers generous size ranges and a selection of the finest apparel, shoes and accessories for the entire family, along with renowned service.
Nordstrom’s mission statement is, "At Nordstrom, we value the richness that diversity brings to our workforce - it makes our Company better and the communities we serve stronger." This is also exactly how they do business. The process a customer goes through to get service is as follows. Customers can shop in store, and online. With online purchases, people can set up an account to make the checkout process simple, and fast. It will also store your information for one click shopping. If customers spend over a certain amount, they can also receive free shipping. Nordstrom’s keeps in close contact through order processing until you get the products you have ordered in hand. The department store also has many enpnloyees working to help make yoru shopping experience fast and easy. There are never long lines, minues the holidays, to keep customers satisfied and happy. Nordstroms also offers a MOD card, and a crecdit card. The MOD card is drafted through your personal bank account, but serves as a credit card. They also have a very liberal return polivy. Nordstrom is a Hall of Fame member of Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work for” list, including being ranked 34th in 2008. Nordstrom is known for its quality apparel, upscale environment, and generous employee rewards. However, what Nordstrom is most famous for is its delivery of customer service above and beyond the norms of the retail industry. Stories about Nordstrom service abound. For example, according to one story the company confirms, in 1975 Nordstrom moved into a new location that had formerly been a tire store. A customer brought a set of tires into the store to return them. Without a word about the mix-up, the tires were accepted and the customer was fully refunded the purchase price. In a different story, a customer tried on several pairs of shoes but failed to find the right combination of size and color. As she was about to leave, the clerk called other Nordstrom stores, but could only locate the right pair at Macy’s, a nearby competitor. The clerk had Macy’s ship the shoes to the customer’s home at Nordstrom’s expense. In a third story, a customer describes wandering into a Portland, Oregon Nordstrom looking for an Armani tuxedo for his daughter’s wedding. The sales associate took his measurements just in case one was found. The next day, the customer got a phone call, informing him that the tux was available. When pressed, she revealed that using her connections she found one in New York, had it put on a truck destined to Chicago, and dispatched someone to meet the truck in Chicago at a rest stop. The next day she shipped the tux to the customer’s address, and the customer found that the tux had already been altered for his measurements and was ready to wear. What is even more impressive about this story is that Nordstrom does not sell Armani tuxedos. How does Nordstrom persist in creating these stories? If you guessed that they have a large number of rules and regulations designed to emphasize quality in customer service, you’d be wrong. In fact, the company gives employees a 5½-inch by 7½-inch card as the employee handbook. On one side of the card, the company welcomes employees to Nordstrom, states that their number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service, and for this they have only one rule. On the other side of the card, the single rule is stated: “Use good judgment in all situations.” By leaving it in the hands of Nordstrom associates, the company seems to have managed to empower employees who deliver customer service heroics every day. Nordstrom has established many different policies designed to keep employees on track with its mission. The use of good judgment is the number one guiding principle for the employees of Nordstrom. The first page of the employee “Code of Business Conduct and Ethics” states “at Nordstrom, we expect you to use good judgment when it comes to taking care of our customers. But we don’t expect you to do it without help from us” (Nordstrom Management, 2006). This policy lets the sales people know that the management stands behind them at all times. Aside from the standard company policies reguarding sexual harassment, stealing, drugs or alcohol, and preventing theft; the company also has some policies that make it unique. Employees are not allowed to accept gifts from anyone with whom they do business. This policy was instilled to uphold Nordstrom’s reputation of acting fair, honest, and professional. Accepting a gift can create the inkling that the gift inappropriately influenced the business transaction. The code of Ethics also tells employees that the company expects its employees to use personal book (a database that includes customer’s information such as purchases, sizes, etc.) on a daily basis. This policy was designed to help the company keep their “reputation for excellent follow-through and service” (Nordstrom Management, 2006). However, since this in personal information, the company states that, “Personal Book and its contents are confidential and… should be used in accordance with the Confidentiality and Nondisclosure Expectation” (Nordstrom Management, 2006). When an employee ends his/her career with Nordstrom, their personal book is closed off to them and returned to Nordstrom. All of these policies help keep Nordstrom on track with its mission. Almost all of the sections in the handbook for employees end with a line about using good judgment. This shows that Nordstrom has confidence in their employees. Nordstrom truly believes that if the employees use good judgment, the customers will get the best possible service the company can offer. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Nordstrom provides many benefits to its employees. The company provides time off with pay for personal and family needs. It also provides paid time for observed holidays. Each employee is also provided with a twenty percent discount at all Nordstrom locations. Nordstrom employees also have many long term benefits available to them. These Benefits include a 401(k) and profit sharing plan, where an employee can divert 50 percent of his/her compensation on a pretax basis, and an Employee stock Purchase Plan where the employee can purchase stock at a 10 percent discount. Full medical/vision and dental coverage are also provided by the company. Basic short term and long term disability coverage, as well as basic life insurance and long term care are also included in the standard benefit package. These benefits help the employee find meaning in their work and promote a positive attitude throughout the organization.

SWOT Analysis Template
Situation being analysed: Nordstrom’s, INC.
*offer the customer the best possible service, selection, quality and value.
*company management strongly believes their employees make their business prosper and that success is built around people (personal selling).
*Nordstrom’s appreciates contributions of each employee, customer, and vendor.
*They have their own set of ethics with the highest standards, which cover their relationships inside and outside of the company.
*very supportive of their communities, and protect human rights and care for their people.
*very liberal return policy. *Goal setting is key as it helps focus their efforts, drive results and recognize great performance,
*socially responsible-concerned with the environment
*goals are being a green company.
*They also have a loyalty program and many sales channels Weaknesses
*Finding difficulty in up and coming fashion trends.
*Rapid extension of outlet stores, which may hurt their reputations of having a consistent high level of customer service.
*Because of their expanding, it also expands the workforce making it difficult to manage employees.
*There has been a decline in same store sales, and an increase in bad debts
*A high social contribution can increase Nordstrom's reputation, but is also very costly.

*Nordstrom’s switches its buying habits, because they still want for the luxurious apparel that Nordstrom’s provides but at a lower price.
*They opened 16 new outlet stores where they could expand to a middle class market segment and bargain hunters.
*Their new customer focuses on green and organic products offering a whole new market. Threats
*Low consumer confidence in the U.S.
*Because of the rising minimum wages in the U.S., pricing has become more of a pressure.
*A wide range of product and large market segment, its possible that new competitors will join the market and get Nordstrom's segments by using tight specialization and smaller segments, which becomes hard to control.
*Nordstrom’s also has a high dependency on suppliers.

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