By Brianna Ahearn, contributing writer
Nordstrom, retailer of luxury goods and fashion, has pledged to spend billions on e-commerce in 2015, with 35% of their sales spent on technology over the next five years. Nordstrom wants to integrate the in-store and online customer experience to be more seamless, and is currently testing one facet of that initiative in a New Jersey store. Shoes of Prey is a shoe design website which lets customers design and purchase their own custom shoes, and has entered into a partnership with Nordstrom. At the Nordstrom in Paramus, New Jersey, customers are able to visit the Shoes of Prey design studios to design their own shoes beginning April 9, 2015.
This spring, Shoes of Prey design studios are in the testing process at the Paramus Nordstrom, as well as five other locations throughout the U.S., with boutiques in San Francisco, California; Newport Beach, California; Washington D.C.; and Chicago, Illinois. The first test site opened at the Bellevue, Washington Nordstrom in November 2014. The Washington, D.C. Location at Pentagon City is slated to open on April 23, while the Chicago, Illinois location will open May 7 at Oakbrook Center. The San Francisco location opened in March 11, and the location at Newport Beach's Nordstrom was available to customers on March 24.
The Shoes of Prey design studios located within Nordstrom stores feature mounted touch-screen tablets where customers can choose all of the elements for their shoe. An installation mounted in the studio will showcase the shoe styles available, and then the customers can use the tablets to use the 3-D online shoe designer by choosing their preferred color, material, heel height, style and ornaments. The materials available include over 170 options, with fish skin, silk, suede, leathers, and even vegan materials. Customers are able to choose sizes that include the harder-to-find shoe size, such as size 13 through 15. Half sizes are also available. To help customers make the right decision during the process, the design studios will be staffed with “shoe stylists” to give pointers or advice about custom shoes. Once designed, the shoes are available for pick-up from Nordstrom or shipped to their home in as a little as four weeks.
“We’re always looking for the best merchandise and experiences the market has to offer and we know there is something special about finding just the right pair of shoes,” says Scott Meden, Executive Vice President and General Merchandise Manager of the Nordstrom shoe division. “Customers are responding well to the first Shoes of Prey design studio in our Bellevue store. We love being able to give customers the ability to explore their creative side and design their own personalized pair of shoes and we’re excited for more customers to experience this firsthand. We’re all about giving customers choices and making them feel good.”
Nordstrom has already integrated technology in their stores by partnering with Ebay for a “smart fitting room,” and launching an integrated e-commerce and mobile shopping site for their Nordstrom Rack line of discount goods stores. Often referred to as a marriage of “clicks and bricks,” the intersection of technology and retail is a popular concern for retailers who seek to offer the best customer service experience both in store and online. With the new Shoes of Prey design studios, customers will be able to fully customize their footwear and get exactly what they want.