Nordstrom : Shopping obsession
Uncoordinated search leaves company information out of stock.
Nordstrom, a leading US fashion store group, excludes non-retail sections from site searches.
Nordstrom’s website is fitted out as an online shop but has an ‘about us’ section that covers a range of corporate content including investor relations, press, company history, careers, diversity, frequently asked questions and corporate responsibility (‘Nordstrom cares’). A simple keyword search is augmented by advanced options that clearly relate to the shop only (category, brand, price range). Test searches confirm that ‘about us’ content is outside the scope of the search engine: for example, ‘Haiti relief’ returns one match, for a T-shirt, and misses the story ‘Nordstrom supports Haiti relief’ in the Nordstrom cares sub-section; ‘corporate governance’ finds no matches. (’Annual report’ is an isolated exception, although it links directly to the investor landing page.)
Several about us sub-sections sit on different templates that do not include the main search tool (for example, investor relations, press, Nordstrom cares, careers). In these cases the template has no alternative overall search facility, though press releases have a dedicated keyword search.
Nordstrom follows in the path of most large retailers in focusing its dot come site on the business of sales but having a universally accessible link to a well-stocked corporate section for those shopping for information about the company. There, though, the site takes off down a route of its own and one that for information shoppers is less easily trodden. While news releases can be filtered, there is no search tool to help sift through other investor and press content or community support initiatives.
There are undoubtedly technical reasons why the search is so patchy: corporate areas sit on their own platforms. But it is quite feasible to create a search engine that covers everything, so why does Nordstrom not do that? Because it is only interested in getting products in front of shoppers? That would be odd. Customers surely care about how it’s helping Haiti at least as much as about buying relief T-shirts.http://shop.nordstrom.com
First published on 02 March, 2010