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At a time when many retailers are shuttering stores, Nordstrom is opening its first-ever Manhattan location aiming to woo online shoppers away from their keyboards with a combination of cocktails, custom products and convenience.
The men's store, which will welcome its first customers Thursday, is located across the street from the site that will be home to a Nordstrom women's store opening in the fall of 2019.
The in-person experience will be a change for New York, Nordstrom's largest market for online sales. It could provide a snapshot of the types of experiences that can entice shoppers now accustomed to browsing on computer screens to visit an actual store.
"It's a unique time to be building a big store,'' Chris Wanlass, vice president and general manager of Nordstrom New York, acknowledged prior to a tour for the media. But "we're excited to bring a physical experience.''
Some of the amenities that customers will find include:
Shoppers who suddenly realize that they need an extra duffel bag or pair of sneakers can order items online then drop by Nordstrom any time, day or night, to pick up their purchase. It's a version of the round-the-clock curbside pick up service that Nordstrom briefly offered in ten markets during the holiday season. Purchases are specific to what's available at the New York men's store, which customers can see by selecting that location online.
With many New Yorkers dependent on taxis, the subway or ride-hailing services like Uber to get around, Nordstrom shoppers can get their purchases dropped off at their home or office for a $20 fee. The service, restricted primarily to the borough of Manhattan, is also available for online purchases.
Customers can grab a glass of wine or a light bite like a lobster roll at the store's upstairs bar. If they prefer to sip while they shop, a store employee will bring a cocktail to them.
Shoppers no longer have to head to the post office to send back a shirt that doesn't fit or a tie they no longer want. The New York store is the second location in Nordstrom's network to have kiosks where customers can scan a receipt, place an unwanted item in a bag provided by the store, then simply drop the bundle inside a returns box.
Shoppers increasingly want to put their personal stamp on whatever they're wearing. At the men's store, they will be able to customize Shinola watches, picking the face and band that they prefer. Or, they can visit the Levi's Tailor Shop downstairs, and get their jeans hemmed or a favorite saying embroidered on a denim jacket.
A section of the store filled with fragrances and other grooming products will also feature a barber chair. Customers can enjoy services ranging from a massage to a shave.