Nordstrom Expands Online/Offline Investment With DIY Shoes Of Prey

The retailer’s past acquisitions like Trunk Club and Hautelook suggest a dedication to its unified clicks-to-bricks strategy.

As part of its ambition to attract customers by playing to their individual sense of style, Nordstrom is contributing a significant investment into design-your-own footwear startup Shoes of Prey.

The retail chain participated in the funding round with BlueSky Venture Capital, Khosla Ventures, and Greycroft. To date, the Australian fashion startup’s total funds are now $24.6 million, more than half of which is from Nordstrom.

Nordstrom’s backing comes on the tail of their brick-and-mortar partnership with Shoes of Prey, which saw in-store workshops that approximated the online design portion of Shoes of Prey’s business model in six different Nordstrom locations around the country.

Shoes of Prey allows customers to digitally design their perfect pair of shoes, starting with one of many base models (ballet flats, stilettos, wedges,) customized with a wide variety of patterns, colors, and styles.

The alliance and investment are the latest in a long list of investments and acquisitions Nordstrom has made it strengthen its omnichannel position. Last year, the department store acquired on-demand menswear startup Trunk Club and had previously acquired flash sales apparel site Hautelook.

These acquisitions and their partnership with Shoes of Prey shows a retailer dedicated to personalization and bridging the offline and online experiences, something reflected in the company’s statement to the press.

“We want to serve customers in many different ways to deliver highly relevant experiences,” said Scott Meden, executive VP and General Manager-Merchandise of Shoes at Nordstrom. “With personalization becoming more important to how the customer views good service, it’s important for us to find opportunities to stay increasingly relevant. Shoes of Prey offers us a way to enhance and deliver a great customer service experience that aligns well with our strategic vision and long-term goals as a company.”

In light of their other partnerships, Morningstar analyst Bridget Weishaar told The Street that she wouldn’t be surprised if Nordstrom acquired Shoes of Prey as well somewhere down the line.

“In my opinion, this investment makes perfect sense for them,” Weishaar added. “Given Nordstrom’s relatively upper-middle class, computer savvy, clientele, I think this is a good investment and will keep them ahead of the curve in retailing trends.”

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Daniel Parisi Daniel Parisi @daniel_parisi_

Daniel Parisi is a New York City-based writer and recent graduate of the University of Maryland. Daniel specializes in coverage of mobile payments, loyalty programs, and the Internet of Things.