Are No Inventory Showrooms, Like Nordstrom Local, the New Retail Trend?

Nordstrom Local is the latest new twist on the trend for smaller store footprints and limited to no inventory. RH Gallery stores have been a success with its showroom approach with no inventory on hand to purchase.

Many consumers are beginning to think of stores as showrooms and use them to try on or test products in person and then order online from the comfort of their home or anywhere from their mobile device. This showrooming concept which requires minimal space lends itself well to urban locations where real estate is expensive. If the first Nordstrom Local takes off, look for more location popping up in other major cities. Perhaps Nordstrom will also embrace the high-end catalog approach used by RH Gallery to drive traffic to the “Local” location.

The Nordstrom Local concept seems like a perfect venue for virtual dressing rooms. Since there is no inventory on hand, other than what was pre-ordered from local stores based on the request of the customer, having the ability to see other styles and colors virtually on your body would be a fun way to shop. Consumers love the theater of shopping and Nordstrom certainly understands the customer.

As always, I appreciate your feedback on this topic. Please share your thoughts and opinions on this topic below.


Ken Morris

Ken was CEO and President of LakeWest Group and founder of CFT Consulting and CFT Systems, a retail software company. Earlier in his career, he held retail information technology executive positions at Lord & Taylor, Filene’s (Macy’s), Talbots, Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, and Sears. His experience is with strategy, selection development and deployment of retail management systems and processes.


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