September 18, 2012
Department store chain Nordstrom is encouraging foot traffic to its in-store Men's Shops in the latest direct mail catalog that shows apparel, accessories, jewelry and fragrance through street-style photography.
The Nordstrom Men’s Shop catalog is presenting this season’s offerings in masculine, metropolitan brand imagery. The catalog seems to be skewed more towards aspirational consumers with lower-end price point items and fragrance strips in pages and mini inserts throughout.
“We regularly produce men's books twice a year,” said Brooke White, spokesperson at Nordstrom, Seattle. “We used the Men's Shop name for the first time in March, but used it prior to that online.
“Our goal is to sell merchandise and offer customers great men's fashion,” she said.
Nordstrom’s Men’s Shop catalog is split into six sections: Sure Bets, Suiting, Hot Now, Whole 9 Yards, Shoes and Casual.
The first two-page spread that starts on the inside of the front cover contains an explanation of the catalog. It tells readers to visit the Men’s Shop at Nordstrom to “find an expertly edited selection of the season’s newest shoes and apparel, knowledgeable help, on-site tailoring, complimentary Personal Stylists and everything else you could possibly need to face the world with confidence and style.”
The first two pages also contain a table of contents and an announcement of the Topman pop-up shop that opened Sept. 10.
The first section, Sure Bets, contains man-on-the-street images that show a model wearing apparel, jewelry and accessories.
Sure Bets section
The Suiting section shows full suits, fall jackets, watches, fragrances, shirts, ties and belts. It also contains directions on how to take advantage of Nordstrom’s made-to-measure service and how to style select pieces.
The Hot Now section contains Nordstrom’s menswear trends for the season that include “The Need for Tweed,” “In Praise of the Double Breast” and “Searching for Our Heritage.”
Hot Now section
In the Whole 9 Yards section, the catalog displays men’s bags, fragrances, sunglasses, suitcases, carry-on bags, electronics, skincare, sportswear, socks, watches and loungewear.
Whole 9 Yards
The Shoes section contains leather shoes, wingtips, work boots and sneakers.
Finally, the catalog’s last section is a nod to “today’s more casual workplace.”
“Nordstrom’s strategy behind this catalog was to tell a great story about guys and the way they live,” said Adriana Estrada, account director at Siegel+Gale, New York. “Men's retail is definitely catching up with women's in terms of telling a great retail story and helping them self-identify with the characters they see.
“The introduction of each model and what he wears during the important moments of his day is told very compactly,” she said. “Nordstrom has tapped industry experts to provide quotes that explain what the reader is seeing and why the featured fashion works and should be purchased.”
Nordstrom’s Men’s Shop catalog seems to be encouraging foot traffic in its store above all else since the message on the opening page describes the in-store experiences.
However, there are some calls to action throughout the book that could encourage digital and mobile transactions as well.
For instance, a line of text on the bottom of the seventh page tells readers to “visit our virtual GQ shop online at http://nordstrom.com/GQ." The link connects users to the online version of the limited-time pop-up shop during New York Fashion Week that was created under a partnership with Condé Nast’s GQ (see story).
In addition, the back cover shows the benefits of shopping on Nordstrom.com as well as a list of the retailer’s mobile channels.
Nordstrom might consider using mobile calls to action in its catalogs so that readers can shop the book on their mobile devices.
For example, Bergdorf Goodman used QR codes in its women’s fall preview magazine this year (see story).
Also, brands including Alexander McQueen, Fendi, Rebecca Taylor and Furla took advantage of watermarked print ads in Condé Nast’s W magazine Trends supplement that encourage commerce through the Saks Fifth Avenue mobile site (see story).
Furthermore, Nordstrom does have a shoppable version of the Men's Shop catalog available on its Web site to outwardly encourage ecommerce.
“The online catalog takes the hesitation out of the decision,” Ms. Estrada said. “You love what you see, you click and buy.
“Paper catalogs do not work quite the same way,” she said. “They are good reminders of getting to the store to see what is new or on sale, but do not have the same sales impact as the online catalog.
“The beauty of the paper catalog is that if it is done with articles and interviews, it can be a covetable magazine.”
Tricia Carr, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York