As malls crumble and Amazon ascends, Department Stores have been on deathwatch. Yet brick-and-mortar retail remains relevant. While growth in clicks outpaces bricks, 90% of retail sales take place in a physical store. Over the next five years, Department Stores will grow 22% globally, with most of the growth coming from emerging markets, specifically China. Department Store brands, including Nordstrom, are seeing big bets on digital begin to pay off, while brands like Sears and JCPenney are looking to digital as a lifeline.
In an effort to remain relevant and to capitalize on their physical presence, Department Stores are merging clicks and bricks. The largest concentration of investments is in bridging online and offline experiences. Half of Department Stores offer online shoppers a “click and collect” option, up 17 percent year on year. Here are the ten most digitally savvy department store brands according to L2’s Digital IQ Index: Department Stores, which quantifies the digital competence of 56 global mass and luxury Department Store brands.
Digital IQ: 148
Nordstrom extends its social media investments to emerging social platforms such as Pinterest and Wanelo. It is has a store on Like2Buy, which is a shoppable version of Nordstrom’s instagram feed. On its site, content is personalized for a better shopping experience for account holders. Further proof of its dedication to courting online shoppers in seek of convenience: Nordstrom purchased Trunk Club in April of last year.
Digital IQ: 147
Macy’s shoppers can shop with a digital wallet, accessible via mobile web or the Macy’s mobile apps. The app integrates payment options, the department’s store’s loyalty program, and pushes in-store and online offers. Macy’s marketing emails promote in-store pickup, free shipping, and coupons. Macy’s leverages its status as a national and global brand. A dedicated tourist site provides in-store coupons and information about services for international travelers.
Digital IQ: 140
Sears’ click-and-collect service includes curbside and kiosk options. The site hosts product videos, sizing details, loyalty point conversion, and fulfillment options to improve the online shopping experience. Sears has an array of mobile apps (more than six) with a variety of functionalities that provide customer service opportunities.
4. Marks & Spencer
Digital IQ: 134
This brand’s loyalty program is integrated with iOS Passbook functionality. In-store tablets encourage browsing and ordering. It is one of six brands to offer free international shipping during the study period. Its Virtual Closet uses augmented reality to allow shoppers to virtually try on clothes and accessories and share pictures to Facebook.
Digital IQ: 132
JCPenney product pages benefit from high volumes of user ratings and reviews, and the tablet site customizes the browsing experience. The brand showed its mastery of real-time marketing during the World Cup and Super Bowl to reach a broader audience on Twitter.
Digital IQ: 129
Bloomingdale’s strong social media initiatives drive engagement through live feedback and user generated content. It uses abandoned cart emails to remind users of potential purchases and feature suggested products. Post-purchase reviews are encouraged through its “Top 10 Contributor” and “Top 250 Contributor” programs in which members are eligible for sweepstakes.
Digital IQ: 122
Kohl’s marketing emails include Pinterest boards with merchandise that has been pinned by local users. Product result pages on Kohl’s mobile site displays alternate colors and user review summaries without needing to click into the product page.
7. Saks (Tie)
Digital IQ: 122
Videos are ubiquitous on product pages. The brand aggressively promotes SMS and email alert signups with high value giveaways. It is among the 27% of brands with user reviews that provide a question-and-answer service.
Digital IQ: 120
John Lewis has partnered with Waitrose grocery store to expand click-and-collect locations to 300 from 40. Customers can pick up their online purchases at Waitrose lockers with a pin received via text message.
9. Neiman Marcus (Tie)
Digital IQ: 120
The Neiman Marcus site allows users to customize and order products; piloting the Visa tap and checkout app. Brand blog “The Blog” provides customers with timely content to entice purchases.