Nordstrom to Keep Ivanka’s Shoe Line: Toeing the Line of Controversy
Since Donald Trump’s election last month, a social media boycott has erupted calling for 50 different retailers to stop selling products associated with the Trump name. Dubbed #grabyourwallet, the movement has already resulted in e-tailer Shoes.com pulling Ivanka Trump products from their site and Macy’s putting a hault on selling Donald Trump clothing, ending a longtime relationship with the now President-elect.
Nordstrom, however, had the opposite approach. In response to the campaign, co-president Pete Nordstrom affirmed said the retailer would remain politically agnostic, stating, “We’ve heard from customers, including some who are long time loyal customers, threatening a boycott of Nordstrom if we continue to carry the line. Similarly, we’ve heard from customers who say they will boycott Nordstrom if we stop carrying the brand. This is a sharply divisive subject. No matter what we do, we are going to end up disappointing some of our customers […] Every single brand we offer is evaluated on their results — if people don’t buy it, we won’t sell it.”
This isn’t the first time a company has received backlash for taking a stance on a polarized political subject. Evidenced by the growing success of ‘cause marketing,’ consumers care as much about a company’s values as they do the products they sell. As a brand or a retailer, how do you avoid getting caught up in controversy in such a volatile political climate? Some would say to stay out of it to avoid alienating customers or staff and a drawn out media firestorm. Others propose that businesses willing to speak on political and social issues should prepare front-line employees, training them on how to deal with customer opinions.
Whatever you choose to do as a business, get ready to stand by your decision. Keeping consistent is the best way to come out of times like these unscathed.
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