Nordstrom announced on Thursday that it’s getting in on the mergers and acquisitions game that has seen its peers quickly onboarding technology and capabilities it would have otherwise taken the company years to develop in house.
The specialty department store chain said it has acquired BevyUp, a digital tool for employees, and MessageYes, which offers e-commerce over mobile messaging.
“The retail environment is changing faster than ever, but the value of service, speed, convenience and newness remain constant,” Brian Gill, technology senior vice president at Nordstrom, said in a release. “To continue to be successful into the future, we need to invest in technologies that will enable us to deliver on those qualities and better serve customers in a digitally-connected world.”
The MessageYes technology uses machine learning to enable shoppers to discover new products, which delivers a level of delight that keeps them coming back according to MessageYes CEO Dave Cotter. Once they find something they like, they simply type “yes” to complete their purchase. Cotter said the idea emerged when his team noted that checkout on mobile was a hassle and people were getting tired of having to constantly get new apps.
“We share Nordstrom’s belief that it’s not about the transaction, but rather, establishing an emotional connection with customers,” Cotter said in a statement posted to the company’s site.
Bevvy up allows sales people to curate a selection for customers via shoppable Style Boards, allowing them to extend their relationship beyond the in-store experience. The tool, which will be integrated into Nordstrom’s employee app, also captures data on shoppers’ preferences and purchases.
“BevyUp was founded on the simple idea that retailers could develop meaningful connections with their customers. We’ve helped revolutionize the customer experience by extending a salesperson’s relationships beyond the confines of brick-and-mortar stores. Becoming a part of the Nordstrom team gives us the opportunity to take our combined efforts even farther,” Mauricio Cuevas, founder and CEO of BevyUp, said in Nordstrom’s release.
Nordstrom, which has been highlighted as one of the first retailers to recognize the importance of omnichannel selling, remains focused on ensuring both its stores and site provide customers with comfort and convenience. Speaking during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call, CFO Anne Bramman said, “We expect to invest roughly $3.2 billion over the next five years, or 4 percent of sales. Technology and supply chain are key enablers of the customer experience, representing nearly 50 percent of our plan.”
Nordstrom’s acquisitions follow a pattern happening in retail, which Garrick Brown of Cushman & Wakefield said would be a hallmark of 2018. “2018 is going to be a year of record retail merger and acquisition activity,” he said.
The race to pick up new tools and technology began in earnest last year as store executives took stock of what it would take to re-engage shoppers. Target has focused on fulfillement with the purchase of same-day service provider Shipt in December and Grand Junction, which provides technology that allows the retailer to select the fastest method from its network of 700 carriers for local deliveries in August. Walmart’s Store No. 8 incubator acquired Spatialand, a virtual reality software startup, last month.