No department-store chain has embraced technology more aggressively. But will tech help Nordstrom avoid the slump in higher-end retail?
the 47,000-square-foot emporium is also a sophisticated shopping-tech laboratory—one of several where Nordstrom is urgently experimenting with ways to make upscale, high-touch retail more competitive in an e-commerce-driven era. The mazelike layout, spread over three floors, showcases subtle but important technological enhancements. Some are super-practical—such as self-service bins where shoppers can drop off returns (including online purchases) and get credit almost immediately. Others have a wow factor: In the suits section, customers can see how bespoke jackets would look on life-size avatars of themselves, projected on screens, a digital take on the adage, “Measure twice, cut once.” And yet others pamper you: If you’ve “reserved” a product online to try on before you buy, there’ll be a fitting room waiting for you—with your name on the door.