Why should DTC brands sell to Nordstrom?
At Nordstrom’s recent Investor Event, a panel of brands explored the benefits of selling to the retailer in an increasingly direct-to-consumer (DTC) world.
Emma Grede, Good American’s CEO, explained that the inclusive denim brand launched at Nordstrom. She said, “For us, it was actually fundamental to being able to build a brand at scale from the beginning because we knew we had this 50-door platform to go into from day one.”
Nordstrom’s experienced team has also helped Good American build out its DE&I (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) platform and advise on category extensions. Ms. Grede said, “Some of the best ideas have come from Nordstrom merchants that are just sharing what’s happening in the business at large.”
Richard Hayne, CEO at Urban Outfitters, said Free People started as a wholesale business and that Nordstrom was an early customer. Nordstrom continues to help Free People reach preferred customers.
He said, “The Free People customer is in her mid-to-late 20s through mid-40s, is relatively affluent and loves fashion. That’s a direct overlap with the Nordstrom customer, and there are many customers that we would find either difficult or impossible to reach with our own stores and our own digital business. And so partnering with Nordstrom is a wonderful way to expand that reach.”
Anish Melwani, North American president of LVMH, noted that the luxury house was able to reach customers shopping “closer to home” at Nordstrom’s stores during the pandemic as dwindling tourist traffic impacted major cities.
A bigger benefit is seen coming from insights. Mr. Melwani said of Nordstrom, “What we really value is customer intimacy. And your ability to understand the customers that are walking into your store and what they want, what they’re looking for. And therefore, help us understand that at that really local micro level.”
For Nordstrom, brand partnerships have become less transactional, more collaborative and more transparent. Peter Nordstrom, president and chief brand officer, said, “We used to feel like we had this proprietary secretive information that we couldn’t possibly share, but it feels like the more that we’ve been kind of open kimono on stuff as we collaborate, it really only comes back to benefit us.”
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- Nordstrom Inc Investor Event Transcript – Nordstrom
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What are the benefits for brands selling through wholesale channels, given today’s heightened emphasis on direct-to-consumer? How have brand partnerships changed for Nordstrom and other department stores?