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Nordstrom Youphoria Is Just Plain Dumb

2012 Annual Review

2012 Annual Review

Nordstrom is a brand that every retailer admires.

Nordstrom, the name evokes great service, quality and integrity. In today’s economy who wouldn’t want to break off a chunk of that for their brand? Few, if any.

In 2012 when brands like Sears and JCPenney, among others, were tanking Nordstrom posted kick-ass numbers. Sales up 12.7% to $11.7 billion, sales per sq ft up 7.3% to $470, only inventory turnover was slightly dinged with turn decreasing from 5.56 in 2011 to 5.37 in 2012.

In spite of their enviable performance in 2012 Nordstrom suffers from the chronic malaise of retailers…”we need to attract new/different/younger/more affluent/tech savvy/active/local (or fill in your favorite here) customers”. How’d that work out for Ron Johnson at JCP?

Nordstrom has coined the term “Youphoria” and is promoting Youphoria with videos featuring young adults involved in activities like chopping wood or riding a motorcycle while fashionably dressed.

Wait! What? When was the last time you’ve seen a young adult chopping wood…let alone doing while fashionably dressed? Or riding a motorcycle in anything but denim? C’mon man!

The campaign is the latest effort by Nordstrom to attract young shoppers (see they’ve got the malaise!). Last September it began selling the British fast-fashion brands Topshop and Topman at select stores and online. It also bought the flash-sale site HauteLook and is selling Bonobos, the e-commerce brand, in its stores. And in February, it revamped the merchandise sold in its Savvy department, reducing the average price point to $50 from $150, and offering called “new, of the moment” brands.

I’d put the sales per square foot of Burberry’s or Cole Haan against any of these so-called “new, of the moment” brands – ANY DAY!

Marketers and merchants are never quite satisfied with what they have. Tinkering with success is risky. Resting on your laurels is risky. Building on your strengths is smart. Unfortunately Nordstrom may believe it is building on it’s strength…instead what they are doing is completely dumb. Watch this spot and you’ll be convinced Nordstrom is blind to their own dumbness.

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