When Nordstrom opened its first store in Manhattan last April—a three-level, 47,000-square-foot men’s store located at 57th and Broadway—the retailer set a new standard for experiential luxury.
GQ called the Men’s Store “an accurate portrait of what a successful department store looks like in 2018”—a feat when longstanding Lord & Taylor and a brand-new Saks Fifth Avenue were plotting store closures in the city.
The New York Times lauded the store’s assortment: “The range in products offered here—extremely affordable to practically unattainable, familiar to little known, easy-to-wear to adventurous—is, at its best, an acknowledgment that now more than ever, people wear outfits that include clothes with wildly different provenances and prices.”
And in an interview with Fortune, Nordstrom.com president Ken Worzel admitted that New York City didn’t need another store, but the Seattle-based company set out to make a case to customers about why the metropolis needed a store like Nordstrom.
For the Men’s Store, Nordstrom gracefully combined the top-notch customer service it has built its reputation on with services that had previously been reserved for celebrity clientele, all the while offering consumers in-demand labels from the denim, sport, streetwear and luxury worlds. It’s a successful recipe that retailers will surely try to emulate in the future, including the Nordstrom Women’s Store planned for Fall ’19 and luxury rival Neiman Marcus, which will open its first Manhattan location in March at the new Hudson Yards development.
Here’s a look at the unique ways the Nordstrom Men’s Store is winning luxury retail.
Moving into a city where virtually anything can be acquired at any hour of the day, Nordstrom understood that it had to up the ante of its product selection with customization and exclusives. And its brand partners stepped up, too.
The store opened with exclusives from sneaker brand Greats, a limited edition collection from Cole Haan and exclusive denim fit and wash options from Rag & Bone, Paige, AG Jeans, Citizens of Humanity. Detroit-based watchmaker Shinola offers customization in addition to a selection of tech products exclusive to the department store, while Le Labo, a New York City-based luxury perfume brand, allows customers to personalize fragrance labels in the grooming department.
And Nordstrom continued to spice up its selection with Merry+Bright, the retailer’s first Pop-In@Nordstrom series in New York City, chockfull of millennial-friendly home, accessories and gifts.
The Nordstrom Men’s store also presented itself as an opportunity for Levi’s to offer a one-of-a-kind shopping experience for men, which is no small feat for a brand that has a 16,902-square-foot flagship just 11 blocks downtown in Times Square.
“Nordstrom is a retailer that is known for their world class customer service,” said Santiago Cucci, managing director U.S.A. at Levi Strauss & Co. Whereas the flagship celebrates Levi’s heritage, collaborations and breadth of products, Nordstrom shines a spotlight on the brand’s high-end collections, including premium Red Tab, Levi’s Made & Crafted, Levi’s Vintage Collection and Levi’s Authorized Vintage.
Additionally, customers can have new or pre-owned jeans customized at the first shop-in-shop Levi’s Tailor Shop. With the opening of the very first Nordstrom Men’s Store in New York City, Cucci said the company felt it was the ideal opportunity to partner with them on creating a Levi’s customization experience for their loyal customer base.
“By allowing shoppers the option to tailor pieces, chain-stitch, or embroider, it is an extension of best in class service,” Cucci said. “We are seeing many customers requesting classic monogramming and embroidered text, patches and denim repairs. We’ve also gained loyal customers that come to our expert tailors to make their creative ideas come to life on some of their favorite Levi’s pieces.”
Sip and shop
New Yorkers love sweeping views and a stiff cocktail. In the spirit of experiential shopping, Nordstrom offers both at the Clubhouse Bar, a second-floor space just steps away from suiting that overlooks Central Park and Columbus Circle. There, shoppers can indulge in handcrafted cocktails, a selection of fine wines and a menu of seasonal snacks, including toasts, charcuterie boards and lobster rolls.
Additionally, shoppers can get a caffeine fix on the shoe floor. Nordstrom’s The Coffee Shop serves bespoke lattes from Toby’s Estate Coffee, a small batch roaster based in Brooklyn. The coffee bar also serves draft beer on tap in addition to a section of fresh pastries.
With the likes of Bergdorf Goodman, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and more just blocks away, Nordstrom elevated its services to luxury status when it opened the Men’s Store.
Customers can book a complementary appointment with a personal stylist to help curate a look, or request an in-home stylist to assist with shopping or conduct a full-closet audit for $400. An expert shoeshine is at the ready, as well as onsite alternations and tailoring.
To meet the needs of time-crunched New Yorkers, Nordstrom implemented a series of quick and efficient services including buy online and pick up in store, three-hour same day delivery for online and in-store purchases, curbside pickup and the option to reserve items online to try on in store at a later time. Shoppers also have access to 24/7 Express Services during all hours for fashion emergencies like lost luggage or items that went unpacked.
The setting also feels luxurious. “The store environment will create a sense of discovery, allowing customers to navigate easily and find new brands they haven’t experienced before,” the company noted. The Nordstrom Men’s Store features the company’s newest store design concepts, including an all-glass façade and open window displays to bring in more natural light. An open, flexible floor plan allows for an evolving curation of how products are displayed, depending on what New York customers respond to.
The store also boasts 39 works by both international and American artists, with a quarter being local. Suspended in the center of a three-story staircase, a floating, diaphanous tree sculpture entitled “Arctic Tree” by the Seattle-based artist John Grade is a nod to the retailer’s Seattle roots.