One of the mobile point-of-sale devices Nordstrom is testing -- an iPod touch with sled attachment. (Courtesy Nordstrom)

Seattle-based retailer Nordstrom mentioned during its annual shareholders meeting yesterday that it has been testing mobile point-of-sale devices at its Bellevue and Seattle stores, to reduce wait times for customers checking out with credit cards. It’s not a new concept in retailing, of course, but when the customer-service icon adopts a new technology, it’s worth paying attention.

The company tells GeekWire that it has been testing iPod touches with a sled attachment for credit-card swiping, in addition to other types of portable devices. The plan is to have these mobile check-out capabilities in all full-line Nordstrom stores in time for the retailer’s annual Anniversary Sale in July, according to the company.

“Our hope is to learn from this initial rollout and to hear from our customers and salespeople about how best to move forward,” a spokesman says. “We then plan on significantly expanding the number of handhelds we’ll have in our stores by the end of this year.”

Also worth noting: The company has been using iPads in its Personal Styling, designer departments and Wedding Suites for some time, as part of its broader effort to use devices to improve the retail experience.

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  • Joshua ‘Red’ Russak

    YES!!! Finally. Executive Vice President Jamie Nordstrom, who oversees the company’s direct division, believes the Internet is changing people’s definition of customer service. “When I was growing up selling shoes, customer service meant walking a bag around the counter to a customer and maybe helping a customer to a car,” he said. While those things remain important, he said, today’s 20-something customer might think of service in terms of “access to information, or interacting with Nordstrom and friends via Facebook.” (Source:

    Now, armed with a Web2.0 ready website, it’s about time they updated the in-person customer service that really counts. Let’s see how long it takes before they start using those at the rack ;)

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