Nordstrom is thinking of putting iPads in dressing rooms

With iPads in dressing rooms, unsatisfied shoppers could see if the store had an item in different sizes or colors. Credit:lolololori via Flickr

Retailer Nordstrom is exploring new ways that it can use iPads in stores.

“We are focused on looking at in-store experiences,” said Jessica Scheibach, group product manager at Nordstrom Direct. “We want to marry the online and store experiences.”

Scheibach spoke on Friday at the MoDev Tablet conference in Seattle.

For instance, she said the company is looking at ways that iPads might be useful in dressing rooms, so that shoppers might, for instance, look up whether an item is available on the store floor in a different size or if it’s available in a different color in another nearby store.

In addition, Nordstrom is toying with the idea of letting customers use its iPad app to choose a handful of items from home and then show up at the store and have the items waiting in a dressing room. “There are a lot of these experiences that are a huge opportunity for us,” she said.

In-store iPads could also become available for shoppers to do things like look for clothes that might match an item the shopper has already picked out. That app could be used by individual shoppers or with assistance by an employee, she said.

Nordstrom shoppers might also be able to use in-store iPads to check themselves out. It sounds like that plan might get a bit tricky given that many sales people in the shop work on commission. Scheibach said tablets might be available in “commission free zones” for that kind of check out.

These kinds of ideas, which she said are all just thoughts the company is considering, are sometimes hard to test at scale, she said. The retailer has a dozen test stores where it rolls out pilots of these kinds of services in order to test them and look for the “pain points” that shoppers are looking to solve. If they go over well, it rolls them out in all stores.

Nordstrom has said that it’s starting to get rid of cash registers and will instead equip sales people with iPod Touches, as JC Penney has done. Scheibach suggested that tablets might also be used for point of sale capabilities.

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