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To name its e-commerce division, Nordstrom chose the label “Direct,” and it appears to be taking that name to heart in its efforts to connect directly with its mobile and online consumers. In addition to the flash site HauteLook, Nordstrom recently acquired Trunk Club, an innovative e-commerce service that works directly with customers.

Trunk Club’s unique approach is, thus far, targeted only at men. It promises a stylist, who works with the shopper to define his style and clothing needs. Then the service ships him a box of clothing each month, which he can consider and try on, and then choose what he likes. He ships anything he does not want to keep back to Trunk Club and pays for the rest. Without any membership fees or service charges, the e-tailer provides valuable insights and customized services that allow men to look fashionable without having to visit stores.

In acquiring Trunk Club, Nordstrom plans few changes. Rather, the partnership with the “assisted commerce” site gives both players an added advantage. Trunk Club gains access to a vast range of resources and existing capabilities related to high-end retail and customer service. Nordstrom obtains another service that it can use to set itself apart in its customers’ minds.

Noting that Nordstrom stores already employ service staff whose job is to help shoppers find their style, the president of Nordstrom Direct explained, “What Trunk Club does adds to our service capabilities—we can learn from them about … ‘assisted commerce’ so we can continue to meet the evolving needs of customers.”

Discussion Questions

  1. What is Trunk Club?
  2. Will Trunk Club enhance customer service at Nordstrom?
  3. Regardless of your gender, would you use Trunk Club? Why or why not?


Source: George Anderson, Retail Wire, August 5, 2014