Nordstrom's customer service was so satisfying that other companies measured themselves against it. Even educational institutions wanted to learn about Nordstrom's philosophy to excel in their field. The uniqueness of Nordstrom came from the fact that it catered to middle-to-upper-income men and women and offered them a wide variety of shoes, apparel, cosmetics and accessories at a liberal return policy. Also, Nordstrom had an army of highly motivated, self-empowered people with a high entrepreneurial spirit. Empowering the workers with all the freedom they needed is the most unique aspect about Nordstrom. While this is such a simple thing to do, many companies do not implement this with the fear that employees may screw up. The Nordstrom management feels that customers would get better products and services if workers are encouraged to use their mind and given freedom. Sales associates do virtually everything to make sure that the customer leaves satisfied.
While most companies prefer to stock the most probable sizes and not take the risk of costly inventories, Nordstrom stocks all sizes with its intension to appeal everyone. Some of Nordstrom employees also perform "Heroics", such as buying an apparel of customer's choice from the store across the street (because they had run out of her size) and selling it at the marked down price to her, only to provide 100% customer satisfaction. The employees don't have to ask anybody's permission to take such a decision. Also, the customers are in return very loyal to Nordstrom. Apart from empowering its employees, Nordstrom also provides them with commissions as a performance incentive. Also, sales associates are the most highly paid in Nordstrom when compared to the other apparel industries. However, only the strong willed and hardworking could survive in Nordstrom's competitive environment where there was urgency to complete and ferocious performance. Employees often had to compete with each other and departments, with one another, to meet the sales goals. However, if one liked working in an unrestricted environment, then this was the best place.