Which Three Department Stores Are Nailing Digital?

Nordstrom, Macy’s and Sears top the list

In the battle for digital relevance, three brick-and-mortar department stores are leading the way, according to a new report from L2

Nordstrom, Macy's and Sears achieved "genius status," the highest of five rankings in the report. Also performing well, in the second-highest "gifted" category, were Marks & Spencer, JCPenney, Bloomingdale’s, Kohl’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, John Lewis, Nieman Marcus, House of Fraser, Debenhams and Net-a-Porter.

The research firm studied how top department stores stack up in terms of e-commerce, mobile and social media and found digital performance varies widely among stores. It analyzed brands based on more than 850 data points, including loyalty programs, merchandising, search, social media following, and mobile app functionality. The brands were ranked on a five-point scale, falling into five categories: feeble, challenged, average, gifted and genius.

Stores in the middle of the pack—with an "average" ranking—include Lord & Taylor, Harrods, Hudson’s Bay, Barney’s New York, Dillard’s and Bergdorf Goodman. Bon-Ton, Myer, Intermix, Shinsegae, Century 21, Von Maur, and The Galleria are among the "challenged" brands. At the bottom of the list are Brown Thomas, Hyundai, Fenwick, Daslu, Rym, and Liverpool, among others.

Department stores are expected to grow 22 percent globally over the next five years, and one key to success is enhancing traditional retail campaigns with effective digital marketing strategies, per the findings.

In terms of mobile, most department store chains seem to at least have a consistently-updated app. Seventy-seven percent of the brands analyzed have an iPhone app while 46 percent have an Android version. About three-fourths of the iPhone apps are set up for shopping and 49 percent list product reviews. Eighty-two percent of iPhone apps include social sharing and 76 percent use push notifications.