According to a recent study by the Luxury Institute, Seattle-based department store Nordstrom is the leading retailer among wealthy American shoppers. The industry research firm surveyed shoppers with household income of $150,000 per year or more for the 2012 Luxury Consumer Experience Index, Women’s Wear Daily reports, and Nordstrom came out on top in a survey that included questions about satisfaction with store personnel, in-store experience and customer satisfaction. For many of you, these findings probably don’t come as much of a surprise.

Nordstrom has long been a bastion of excellent customer service; even comedian Kathy Griffin has a routine about her mom’s fondness for returning things to the department store, which has a reputation for taking back almost anything, under almost any circumstances. Percentages of survey respondents who would both shop there again and recommend the store to family or friends were both in the mid-90s, which is literally just about as good as a store can get. So what makes Nordstrom so likable? And if you’re not a Nordstrom fanatic, where do you prefer to shop?

Personally, I’m on the Nordstrom bandwagon. I’ve rarely encountered the kind of snobbery inside of a Nordstrom store that customers routinely report finding at other places (and that I found in several New York department stores when I did a little experiment last year), and even when I’ve been at my most shabbily dressed, I can’t recall any memorable issues. The lack of a Nordstrom in New York City is one of Manhattan’s great shopping failures, and although most of the Nordstroms have handbag and accessories selections that leave me wanting, the kind of giant flagship store that the company would surely build in New York City would be a sight to behold.

Tied for the number two spot were Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys, both bastions of New York shopping (although Barneys has expanded to a few other US cities) that customers felt had the slightly chillier customer service that is so widespread in luxury retail but that also sometimes makes customers a little bit frustrated. On Bergdorf’s and Barneys’ side, though, was the rarefied feel of their in-store shopping experiences, particularly, one would assume, in their respective New York locations. Anyone who’s ever bought luxury goods knows that part of what you pay for is the experience, and in that way, an air of exclusivity definitely counts for something. It just might not count for quite as much as being able to return a defective handbag a year after the original purchase.

Image via Bloomberg

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • circafashion

    I am team nordstrom just because of the customer service. I agree you have to get to the right nordstrom store to get a great selection of luxury handbags. 

  • Propafly

    Nordstrom is by far my fav.  I moved from Seattle to New Orleans (no Nordstrom…so sad) but travel to Houston regularly to get my Nordstrom fix.  As a busy working woman I appreciate the amazing service.  I always use the dressing rooms in the designer dept where I have a land line, chilled bottled water and the salespeople will run and get the right bra, shoes or tailor to make the outfit work.  One stop shopping…perfect.

  • Desmajones

    I love Nordstrom as well. The ladies there knew my mother by first name! Lol! But what about Saks? I love Saks too!

  • ninaf

    Love Nordstrom. They have a good mix of high end and average prices.

  • Tiffany H

    I love Nordstrom due to their excellent customer service! Saks is great too (at least in my city). 

  • Vklose80

    I’m not surprisedby the survey results. I’ve had a Nordstrom card since 1981. I’ve kept even though I haven’t lived within 150 miles of a Nordi’s for almost 20 years. While I was living in Europe I said that I’d be so happy to see a Nordstrom again that I would get on my hands and knees and kiss the marble floor! It was 7 years before I got to enter a Nordi’s store again, and while I didn’t actually get on the floor & kiss it (it was Anchorage, in December, no way), I really did start crying when I entered!!
    In the past year or so they’ve had free shipping AND returns, combine that with a good website, great customer service, fashionable and affordable clothing and accessories and it adds up to 100% success.

    • Suz

       I agree.  I live in the middle of a shoe wasteland…..and Nordstrom is my go-to shoe shopping source because of their huge selection and shipping and return policy.  I can order a whole bunch and send back what doesn’t work.

  • FashionableLena

    I agree.  Nordstrom’s has wonderful customer service. I just don’t know if I consider it a luxury retailer.  For me, it’s in between a SAKS and a Macy’s.
    I’m surprised that SAKS isn’t on the list.  They have good customer service, too.
    Can’t stand Neiman’s.  I was treated so poorly that I filed a complaint with the corporate office.  Will never buy from their again.

    • Every time I go to Neimans, especially the local one, I get the cops called on me for “suspicious behavior”. Apparently browsing and trying things on, and not just buying things immediately is considered suspicious.

  • Sandra Rowley

    I love Nordstrom, by far and away the best customer service out there.  I have a person in just about every department that is basically a personal shopper.  While it is true that not every Nordstrom has the selection of designer merchandise to suit every taste, they have a look book that offers just about every designer.  Just get that personal shopper to give you the look book and you can find just about anything you want, the look book offers much more than on line.  I used to purchase from other retailers but since Nordstrom put a fabulous store with many designer offerings in SLC I am hooked.  If I have something I want I try and purchase from Nordy’s first.

  • Sunflower

    In my area, Nordstrom is the best. Neiman Marcus and Saks SA’s are completely judgmental and elitist and won’t even look at you unless you are covered in designer garb. One of our news teams even had and expose’ piece  on Saks horrible SA’s lol!

  • Rashida

    I agree. Nordstrom all the way!

  • Seejay

    I love Nordstrom & spend quite a bit each year. They have the most user friendly website & their customer service is excellent!! On top of a very generous shoe selection in the Chicago/Michigan Ave store.

  • Bagolicious

    Nordstrom is my number one department store and we have some really great ones here in L.A. County and also down in Orange County. I love the one at Westfield Mall in The Valley (Woodland Hills-L.A.). The other really great ones are at The Grove (L.A.) and at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa (Orange County). And there are plenty other ones.

    If Nordstrom ever disappeared, I don’t know where I’d shop. While up in Seattle for a weekend, a few years ago, I dropped in at the Flagship store and it was heavenly. Nordstrom has a very West Coast groove. 

  • Katrinka242

    I am a NORDSTROM girl !!!!!!!! Simply the best department store going !!

  • Yerani

    I don’t know about this…I feel like every time I walk into a Nordstroms, it’s so messy and there’s no rhyme and reason to their layout. I love shopping, just like I love chocolate and shopping at Nordstroms is like pretending Nutri-sweet chocolate is the same as Godiva…it doesn’t look the same, smell the same, or taste the same…so it just ain’t!

  • JK

    Love Nordstrom! My favorite store carries some fantastic designer handbags, including Balenciaga, Proenza Schouler and Chanel. The SA’s are always friendly and helpful without being overwhelming. The selection at their outlet stores Nordstorm Rack is far better than Saks or Neiman Marcus.

  • I am team nordstrom all the way. For the most part because of what they carry, but also because of the service. No one touches it.  DH and I spent some time in NYC and were treated like crap in just about every store we went in, despite the ability to pay well above the prices marked. We just didn’t look like anyone worth caring about in their minds. Their commission loss, I suppose, since I just bought it online when I got home. 

  • pixiegirlie

    I love nordies! As a plus size women it’s hard to find quality clothes that look good on you. Most department stores plus size clothing look like shapless sacks on you or look like something your grandma would wear. I love some of their house brands for clothing, I seriously have some calson tees that are just as old that are in great shape. The price for what you pay is worth it because the quality is there, some stores sell similar items of inferior quality some at higher prices than found at nordies. Their CS is great the stores I’m a regular at all the SA’s remember me and go out of their way  to help me find whatever it is I want.  

  • Casey

    In terms of department stores, Nordstrom really is infinitely more pleasant than other stores like Barneys, Bloomingdale’s, or Neiman Marcus. But my favorite store to shop at is CO-OP Barneys New York because I’ve never come across any sort of snobbiness from their staff, the environment is so much friendlier than any flagship Barneys. Nordstrom and CO-OP in San Diego truly have the best service I have ever encountered.