Uncovering Nordstrom’s Black Friday Strategies and Performance

Maria Resi Ndaruasri
Maria Resi Ndaruasri
December 14, 2021
December 14, 2021
Uncovering Nordstrom’s Black Friday Strategies and Performance

Black Friday is known as one of the biggest sales to kick off the holiday shopping season, with retailers planning for huge doorbuster deals to entice shoppers.

Despite seeing a slight decline in e-commerce spending amongst US shoppers during Black Friday this year as many ventured back to physical store shopping, some retailers performed well online. One of the leading multi-brand retailers in the US, Nordstrom, was one of them. We take a look at the data using Omnilytics dashboard to understand the retailer’s strategy and performance during one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

More newness led to strong sell-out growth

Based on the chart below, Nordstorm had 124% more products than last year and injected 111% more newness during the week of Black Friday. Overall sell-out during the week increased by 141% YoY, proving that its strategy of bringing in more products led to better performance this year. 

The sell-out rate on the day of Black Friday itself however saw a decline by 17% compared to the previous year despite having 1,475% more discounted products YoY. Meanwhile, Cyber Monday performed slightly better this year with a 2% YoY increase in sell-out. 

Trade movement data from Omnilytics dashboard on Black Friday week 2021 vs. last year

The peak in sell-out on Nov 23 was also attributed to the impact of additional new products inbounded the day before, proving that the strategy was successful in driving the performance.

New in data from Omnilytics dashboard on Nov 22, 2021

Last-minute shoppers

This year, customers tend to shop late as the sell-out showed an upward trend from Black Friday leading to Cyber Monday despite launching the campaign in the first week of November. Whereas last year, customers tended to shop from the beginning of the week until Black Friday but losing luster towards Cyber ​​Monday.

Nordstrom US email - Nov 4, 2021

More full price sell-outs generated

There was a significant proportion of full price sell-out for all categories at 64%, indicating that the buzz generated around Black Friday managed to convert into sales. The number of full-price products sold increased by 107% YoY, led by Activewear, Jewellery, Accessories, Intimates, and Bags.

Trade analysis data from Omnilytics dashboard on Black Friday week 2021

When we compare the discounting strategy, Nordstorm offered a lower markdown this year. The mean discount percentage was rather conservative at 38% off with a discount spread of 28% - 42%, compared to last year’s 41% off with a discount spread of 30% - 54%. The sweet spot for sell-out was between 50-69% off.

The top categories with the biggest discounts included seasonal Summer products and silhouettes such as Shorts, Jumpsuits & Playsuits, and also Tops. 

Discount distribution data from Omnilytics dashboard on Black Friday week 2021

Occasion Dresses and Jewellery Led

In apparel, Dresses led in the Black Friday week with an above-average full price sell-out. 

Products trade performance data from Omnilytics dashboard on Black Friday week 2021

Diving into the category revealed party dresses were particularly popular, with a mix between romantic, flowy silhouettes and elegant form-fitting dresses that are perfect for the holiday season.

Other categories that performed strongly at full price included Activewear, Intimates and Outerwear. 

As for the non-apparel categories, Jewellery generated significantly higher sell-out compared to others, with a strong full price sell-out at 80%.

Products trade performance data from Omnilytics dashboard on Black Friday week 2021

Within the category, Rings and Necklaces were highly popular as they serve as great gifting purposes for the upcoming Holiday season.

Key Takeaways

  • As customers have started shopping at offline stores again with the easing of lockdown, it is important for online retailers to provide the right assortment according to customer demand to maximise sales.
  • Maintain the “freshness” of the assortment even during the sale period to drive full-price sell-out.
  • Curate and identify the right products to discount by performing a granular analysis of the current stock.

About the Author

Maria Resi Ndaruasri
Maria Resi Ndaruasri
Industry Educator.