Nordstrom’s “How-To” Clinic for Retailers: Customer Service on Social Media
(Image: Nordstrom Instagram)
Nordstrom Tops Customer Engagement Online
Nordstrom is a luxury boutique both online as well as in store and is headquartered in Seattle, Washington. This corporation is known for putting the customer first and they have extended this brand equity into the online experiences for their customer. You may think how can you take a personal service trait and translate this into a social media environment. Nordstrom has identified their voice and insuring that it is present in all channels of communication with their consumer through different tactics. Several of these tactics include Email, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
Nordstorm maintains a consistent brand message through Emails, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Email is utilized to showcase their product offerings, sales, and online exclusive deals. According to author Lon Safko of the book, The Social Media Bible, email marketing has the power to exponentially exceed the results generated by conventional direct mail, newspaper, magazine, and cost-prohibited radio and television advertising. Nordstrom has been able to successfully make the conversion with their CRM. With over 1-million unique views a month, Nordstrom has lead statistically in comparison with other high-end retailers. “They are best in market at both keeping and engaging their visitors.”
Facebook has been used to showcase products, increase customer engagement and has been successful. The brand has 2,812,615 likes, 97,544 talking about this, and 597,789 were here. The main platform for this tactic is to drive traffic to their ecommerce website. On average all posting are product related, with an attractive image and a link to purchase.
Pinterest is a neat way to keep track visually of items you really adore. With over four-million followers, they have utilized this social media tactic to showcase over 10-thousand pins. Nordstrom has been able to marry social media content into their in-store experience by “…labeling its ‘Top Pinned Items’ in stores with a Pinterest logo, alerting shoppers which items are the most popular online.”
Nordstrom has been on Twitter since June 18, 2008 and according to Twitaholic the brand is ranked 4,311th in the world in regards to followers. Today they are just shy of half-a-million followers totaling at 495,417. Twitter has had a positive effect on the brand. On average a day, Nordstrom has an increase of 385 followers, with 97 tweets. This sort of engagement has afforded the brand the opportunity to have immediate dialogue with customers in real-time.
(Image: Twitaholic Stats & Ranking)
In 2009, Nordstrom announced to their staff the opportunity to utilize Twitter as a means to grow their individual business. Most employees were already using Twitter personally but now they were able to grow their engagement with customers and potential customers. Nordstrom store manager, Sanda Belaire, explains how she is able to use Twitter daily. “I use Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to share anything I’m excited about throughout the store…If a fabulous Christian Louboutin shoe or Alexander Wang dress comes in, I want to share it immediately and social media enables me to do that.”
Because customer service is the foundation of the Nordstrom business, it was an evolution of service for Nordstrom to extend the brand to Twitter to provide immediate, real-time feedback to assist customers. Belaire goes on to say, “I’ve found merchandise, connected salespeople, suggested the right shoes and gifts through Twitter as well as met fabulous people. Social media is continuing to redefine service and we are here to listen to our customers — happy or unhappy.”
For example, Kevin Hillstrom, President of Mine ThatData, conducted a 5 week study on Nordstrom’s Twitter engagement. The study found that during this time there was 6,121 individuals who either mentioned Nordstrom, #Nordstrom, @Nordstrom, and or a retweet. 5% of those individuals would be considered a highly engaged audience because they will continue to engage the brand after the initial tweet. Nordstrom’s conversations range from discussion about fashion to events. There is also discussion about sales and product exclusives.
In comparison with other retailers, Nordstrom tops them all in regards to digital experience. The study conducted by L2 which “ranked 40 department store chains on their online practices, ranging from social media to online ordering to mobile apps” (Griffin, 2013, para 5). Nordstrom also tops other retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue, and Macy’s, as the winner in the study on “how they used digital tools to reach out to shoppers.”
Areas of Improvement
Although Nordstrom’s Twitter feed ranks high among other retailers, Simply Measured reports that 30% of top brands have dedicated customer service twitter accounts. For example, ASOS and Microsoft are both dedicated to customer service and have an additional twitter account to deal with customer service issues.
Nordstrom makes it a standard practice to advise any followers on Twitter to “direct message” their inquiry or concern to be addressed immediately. Thus far Nordstrom has successfully married the integration of fashion must haves and resolutions to problems but this option of having a dedicated handle to address issues will be a much better approach. The only reason I can see as to why they haven’t done so already is because to Nordstrom there is no difference between sales and customer service.