Nordstrom makes strides with online shoe store

The upscale retailer launches an online shoe store, its first boutique offering from online subsidiary Nordstrom.com.

Stefanie Olsen Staff writer, CNET News
Stefanie Olsen covers technology and science.
Stefanie Olsen
Upscale retailer Nordstrom launched an online shoe store today, its first boutique offering from online subsidiary Nordstrom.com.

As earlier reported by CNET News.com, the launch of Nordstromshoes.com is the company's first sign of an e-commerce partnership with Benchmark Capital. Benchmark's $15 million investment in Nordstrom.com, announced in August, gave the top Internet venture company a 15-percent stake in Nordstrom.com, according to Bob Schwartz, general manager of the online unit.

The Nordstromshoes.com site, which offers approximately 20 million pairs of shoes, seeks to draw customers online with a new national sweepstakes launched today, according to a company statement. The Make Room for Shoes promotion will give away free shoes for life, among other prizes.

Nordstromshoes.com customers can return their purchases to any of Nordstrom's brick-and-mortar stores. In addition, Nordstrom is coordinating its online and in-store offerings. Store clerks can order items through the Web site for customers who are unable to find what they are looking for in Nordstrom's stores. The site allows customers to search for shoes based on size, brand, and color.

The retailer also plans to spend $17 million this holiday season promoting its new online shoe store.

Nordstrom estimates that the online shoe business will grow from $121 million this year to some $902 million in 2003, but competition will be intense. Banana Republic, Macy's, and Nike, among others, all sell shoes online.