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.
Read more about common retail gaffes and how to avoid (or handle) them by clicking below!