Nordstrom’s Amazing Conversion Tactics

I’m kind of cheap.  I get my hair cut at Great Clips – with a coupon.  I don’t buy name brands very often.  And, I’ve been known to find more than one or two wardrobe essentials at Goodwill.  However, I don’t really mind spending money on quality, last-a-lifetime items.

Though I haven’t shopped at Nordstrom often, I’ve been there enough to know that their customer service is unparalleled.  When it comes to customer service and quality brand experiences, Nordstrom is up there with the best of them: the Ritz, Tiffany’s, and Disney (not luxurious, but definitely a king of brand experience!).

A Master in Conversion Tactics

Nordstrom is a master in conversion tactics.  We usually use the phrase “conversion tactics” to refer to well written blog posts and content that converts a browser into a buyer.  And, while Nordstrom does have a pretty good blog, it isn’t their content marketing that has me particularly impressed.

I consider Nordstrom to be a master of conversion tactics because of their phenomenal in-person customer service.  You may have your own online business, but the lessons taught by Nordstrom’s brick-and-mortar customer service are just as applicable to the Internet!

Nordstrom & The Tires

Chances are you’ve heard this story, but I would be remiss if I failed to include it in a blog post about Nordstrom’s customer service…

According to legend, in 1975, Nordstrom acquired three stores in Alaska from a tire company.  Purportedly, a customer (of the tire company) came in one day, put his tires up on the counter, and requested a refund.  Despite the fact that Nordstrom had never sold tires, the sales representative gave him a refund, and invited him to return to shop some time.

Click the above link to read the entire story and all of its variations on  The story isn’t entirely verified, but there’s no reason to assume it’s completely fabricated either. Regardless of the actual truth of the story, it speaks volumes about the public’s perception of this legendary brand.

What They’re Doing Now

With that anecdote as our background, let’s take a look into some other details of Nordstrom’s terrific customer service and business branding.  The retailer places a large emphasis on going out of their way to deliver exceptional customer service.

One of my favorite Nordstrom lessons is always write thank-you notes.  Nordstrom is famous for having sales representatives send out thank you notes to their customers.  This little customer service strategy also says a lot for Nordstrom’s approach to business branding.  When was the last time you got a thank you note from Macy’s or Dilliard’s?

I also love this video, in which Johnson & Johnson Marketing Executive, Rod McNealy discusses Nordstrom’s legendary customer service.  The first part of the video covers the Nordstrom “tire story” as it’s often referred to, so go ahead and skip to the 2:17 mark.

What McNealy says about Nordstrom’s use of a name is completely true.  When customers hear their own names, they’re instantly more likely to respond positively to your message.  It’s a highly effective conversion tactic that can work wonders when used well!  These minor details set the high-end retailer apart from the competition.

Business Branding Like Nordstrom

The great thing about these techniques is that you don’t have to have a brick-and-mortar store or even have a budget like Nordstrom’s to make them work for you.  CEM founder Amie Marse has seven tips specifically created with the virtual business in mind.

As you continue to push your content marketing efforts, think about conversion tactics like these that you can employ in your everyday customer service.  Though content marketing offers some great solutions, it isn’t the only way to utilize conversion tactics.  Just ask Nordstrom’s!

And, for those of you who are also cheap like me, you might want to check out Nordstrom’s next time you need something done well!

What other lessons from Nordstrom do you think you might employ in your business strategy?

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Ben Richardson is a writer based in Nashville, TN. While he loves writing on a variety of subjects, he's our go-to on all things related to branding and the creative aspects of content marketing. Follow him on Twitter!

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    1. Thanks for sharing, Meagan! You’re right that Nordstrom does a great job with their online presence… If you poke around on their site, you’ll notice there isn’t really that much talk about how awesome their customer service/return policies are. They know that most everyone is already aware of their amazing policies, and so there’s no need for them to go about blowing their own horn. Definitely a hallmark of excellence.

    2. Nordstrom is out of my shopping budget league as well, but I love to go in the store for the experience alone. I remember my mom taking me shopping at their downtown Seattle location and feeling like I was in a princess shopping castle.I still feel the same way many (many) years later.

      What impresses me about Nordstrom from a conversion standpoint is that their customer service doesn’t stop at the brick and mortar store, it extends to all of the online properties. They have created an environment of customer connection. I think if other brands followed Nordstrom’s lead, they would see a significant increase in their level of loyalty and influencer support. You’re right, all it takes is a thank-you note.
      Meagan Dahl was just talking about…3 Tips For Building Your Brand With PinterestMy Profile

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