Nordstrom BP Photobooth
Nordstrom approached us because they were concerned that their teen department, BP, didn’t embody their brand values. They wanted to explore ways to make the department feel more like Nordstrom – and more cool. Interviews with salespeople and teenage customers revealed an alignment between Nordstrom’s belief in personal style and BP shoppers’ desire to explore their identities through fashion. To address both of these insights, we developed a digital photobooth that allowed shoppers to play with style and experiment with their image in a way that was true to Nordstrom. Nordstrom is grounded in a strong belief in personal style. But as an upscale and well-established retailer, they can come off as serious, even slightly intimidating. Their goal for this project was to find ways to help their teen department feel “very Nordstrom” while also being a cool and welcoming place for girls. We began by talking to BP customers and studying teen behavior. What we found was that teen girls are absorbed in developing their unique identities. BP customers are rapidly developing self-awareness and actively curating how they want to be seen by their peers by trying on different looks and attitudes. This was all starting to sound very familiar. In talking to these customers, our key insights were that there are two central places – relevant to Nordstrom – where our BP shopper is exploring and expressing her emerging identity: the dressing room and in online social networks.
The dressing room provides endless possibilities, in a safe environment for trying on different clothes – and personas – without being judged. It’s where girls can socialize while developing a personal style. Her online identity is a big part of who she is and how she wants to be seen. It’s easier to control image online by carefully selecting which photos to post. Controlling this part of her identity is an important part of the narrative she’s creating about herself for her friends and network. In our research, we talked to girls who said that when friends gather at her house, they sometimes did their hair and makeup just to make sure they look good in the pictures they post on Facebook.
The salespeople explained to us that teenagers frequently use their camera phones to take pictures of themselves in clothes they liked, so they could share with friends and family before making a purchase decision. We realized that if Nordstrom brought photography into the dressing room of BP, they could participate in how teens shared their image. Since camera phones aren’t very sophisticated, we decided to set up a better way for teens to take pictures in the dressing room. We wanted to create a cool experience, but we also recognized that the photos themselves are the key. They needed to be flattering and fun if the girls were going to share them. They also needed to be easy to share.
And So Was Born The BP Photobooth…
We set up a touch screen photobooth in the dressing room area of a BP location, where teens could take pictures of outfits they liked, either alone or with friends. In the main communal area of the dressing room, we installed a touch screen editing table and a photo printer. Once they’d taken photos they liked, teens could edit the shots and add custom frames, flair and colors. The last step of the process was to email the photos (they could send to up to 3 email addresses) and print out their photos on sticker paper to take with them. The Photobooth turned out to be a success. The BP where we conducted the test was the best performing BP department in the company during the time of the installation. By creating opportunities to play and experiment within BP, the Photobooth helped to support teen shoppers’ exploration of their own personal style. It added a level of fun and excitement that matched shoppers’ enthusiasm and brought Nordstrom’s dedication to personal style to life. The photographs also served to release this experience outside of Nordstrom, giving the brand an opportunity to be a more visible part of teen customers’ identities in their social networks. We heard that customers past their teenaged years (ourselves included) were enjoying the Photobooth and wishing for one in other departments.