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Sources have told CNBC that as a private company Nordstrom could bolster its business further, in a way that's difficult in the public eye. This includes costly e-commerce investments and the realignment of its store footprint.
Nordstrom said Thursday it bought BevyUp and MessageYes, two digital retail start-ups. The financial terms of the transactions weren't disclosed.
BevyUp is a platform that allows sales associates to communicate with each other on the back end, and encourages shoppers to share information with each other and browse items together online.
Its digital selling platform will be incorporated into a new mobile app for Nordstrom's employees, rolling out next year, the companies said.
MessageYes offers brands the opportunity to text their customers, leveraging artificial intelligence and integrated payments.
Using MessageYes, Nordstrom will be able to send shoppers more personalized notifications, with their consent, while they browse online. Customers can ultimately respond "Yes" to one of Nordstrom's messages to instantly buy products from their phones.
"The retail environment is changing faster than ever," said Brian Gill, technology senior vice president at Nordstrom. "We need to invest in technologies that will enable us to deliver on those qualities and better serve customers in a digitally-connected world."
Nordstrom was one of the earliest department stores to make a bet on e-commerce, a move that many say has helped it stay ahead of peers. It acquired HauteLook, a members-only shopping website, in 2011.