Nordstrom Smoothly Fuses Online And Offline With ‘Pop-In’ Concept

Each month, the department store’s pop-in shop spotlights exclusive products designed around a specific theme — and customers can choose how to purchase them.

We’ve all heard of a pop-up shop, but department store chain Nordstrom is taking the idea omnichannel with its pop-in concept: Pop-in@Nordstrom spotlights a different category of products each month, and shoppers can “pop-in” to check them out either online or in select Nordstrom stores.

The “eats” pop-in, which featured kitchen goods and non-perishable pantry items, ran from March 18 — April 17. Products included everything from Coffee Bean Fair Trade coffee to a DIY Mozzarella kit.

Pop-In@Nordstrom originally debuted in 2013, and is “curated by Olivia Kim—our globally curious, tattoo-emblazoned, fashion-adventurous VP of Creative Projects,” Nordstrom wrote in a statement. “Each month, we present new and often exclusive products, designers and ideas built on a different theme (past Pop-In themes include road trips, France, community, New Year’s resolutions and poolside glamour, to name a few—plus partnerships with Nike Women, Topshop/Topman, Poketo, I.T., Opening Ceremony and more).”

Up next? A pop-in featuring skin care company Aesop. A selection of specialty Aesop products can be found both online and in select stores in California, Illinois, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and British Columbia beginning April 22.

Freedom Of Choice

The idea of presenting certain goods to shoppers for a limited time only isn’t new — but the idea of creating an online and offline pop-up to promote them is.

In today’s digital world, social media is one of the most common ways to promote a pop-up shop, but then customers have to actually go to the physical location; if they don’t live nearby or they don’t have the time, they’re out of luck. By giving shoppers a choice as to whether they prefer to “visit” the pop-up sale in-store or online, Nordstrom is effectively widening its customer pool.

The move also indicates an understanding of the way people shop today. Consumers move seamlessly between desktop, tablet, and mobile — and even bring their mobile devices in-store for price research and product comparisons.

Essentially, the choice between shopping in a store and ordering online isn’t about absolute preference; it’s about what is most convenient for the customer in any given moment, and the majority of people switch back and forth between the two on a daily basis. The online/offline pop-in concept acknowledges this freedom of choice.

Secondly, it looks as though marketing partnerships naturally emerge from the pop-in concept, considering that Nordstrom uses the shop to spotlight particular companies or genres of products each month.

Nordstrom did not respond to a request for comment on this article, but it has clearly explored this angle before: November 2015 saw a Nordstrom x Opening Ceremony pop-in, resulting in a good deal of cross promotion for both retail brands. It’s not a stretch to think that other brands would be eager to follow suit, considering Nordstrom’s large online and offline footprint — and its apparent understanding of how the physical and the digital have irreversibly merged.

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.