Nordstrom is different!

By showing less, they sell more!

It’s hard to put your finger on it right away, but Nordstrom feels different than other stores. I’m not 100% sure I’ve got it right. Of course there are the fabulous shoe assortments and exceptional sales associates, but by spending time in the Calgary store these thoughts emerged.

The coffee bar at the front door is an obvious start. It sends a message that begins a consistent theme throughout—“Welcome to Nordstrom; please take your time.”



Cosmetics, which are usually bold and aggressively displayed, are presented subtly.




First impressions start with tasteful displays of brand name jewelers, such as David Yurman, and no major fixtures blocking your view of the main floor.

Aisle widths are luxuriously wide—no sense that every square foot is devoted to “pile it high and watch it fly” merchandising. There are quiet corners to wait for friends—or simply relax before going onto “lighten your wallet.” It’s the anti-Walmart or Sears experience.

This approach coaches shoppers to slow down, take their time, and spend more.



Nice little extras reflect the Nordstrom culture—whether it is a desk for your computer or a kid’s table outside the café.



“Accessory outposts” in the apparel departments go a long way to break up the “masses of hanging stuff”—all while simultaneously building multi-unit sales.



Digital signs sell coordinated fashion looks and are tied into the merchandise presentation.


And of course, you can’t miss “the killer” shoe department!


My observation at Nordstrom is that “yes—less adds up to more” and it is clearly reflected in sales per square foot productivity that far exceeds industry norms!

Written by: John Williams, Senior Partner at J.C. Williams Group 


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