Nordstrom is going digital in a big way and the latest evidence of that is the department store's planned acquisition of Trunk Club, an online personalized fashion shopping service for men.
"What Trunk Club is doing in the personal styling space is a natural extension of our core business," said Erik Nordstrom, president of Nordstrom Direct, the company's e-commerce division, in a statement. "This acquisition is reflective of how we want to move quickly to evolve with customers by finding more ways to deliver a great shopping experience. One of the pillars of our long-term growth strategy is to integrate the online and offline customer experience, and the personal styling space is a great example of how these two worlds are coming together. We view this investment as complementary to our own business and our efforts to better serve customers."
Trunk Club uses 250 personal stylists to develop one-to-one relationships with customers. The stylists pick clothing they think will work for their customers and ship it to them directly. Customers keep the items they like and return what they don't for free. The service doesn't charge a membership or subscription fee.
Nordstrom's new acquisition offers everyday basic clothes as well as high-end suits and other men's apparel. Customers can shop via their PCs, mobile devices or meet with Trunk Club stylists at showrooms in Chicago, Dallas and Washington, D.C. Another showroom is scheduled to open in Los Angeles this month.
"We have more than 1,500 talented personal stylists at Nordstrom as well — in our stores. This complimentary service is an important and successful volume driver for us that our customers appreciate," added Mr. Nordstrom. "What Trunk Club does adds to our service capabilities — we can learn from them about what they call 'assisted commerce' so we can continue to meet the evolving needs of customers."
According to a press release to announce the deal, Trunk Club will continue to operate as an independent business "while leveraging Nordstrom's capabilities and resources to scale its business."
Nordstrom Direct has been on roll. The division's sales jumped 33 percent during its first quarter, on top of a 25 percent increase last year. The flash sales site HauteLook achieved a 10.3 percent increase in sales during the first quarter following a 35 percent annual increase the year before.
During the second quarter, Nordstrom rolled out an e-commerce site for its popular Rack concept and released a mobile app that shares a platform with Hautelook, giving customers access to deals from each property.
Is Trunk Club more or less likely to succeed as a division of Nordstrom than it would have on its own?