Nordstrom announced yesterday via email to members of its Trunk Club shopping service that it is closing the service down, effective the end of the month.
On its website and in an email, the retailer said:
"As a valued Nordstrom Trunk Club customer, we thank you and appreciate your loyalty.
"While we will no longer serve customers through Trunks, we're still ready to take care of all your styling needs at your convenience.
"We offer everything from outfit inspiration to online chat with a stylist, to one-on-one appointments both in stores and online. We look forward to serving you! Get started here."
The company emphasized that this is more a shifting of priorities than an abandonment of styling services.
Business of Fashion quotes CEO Erik Nordstrom: "”I want to be clear. This move reflects our belief and commitment to styling and we are dedicated to growing and investing in these services. We have a range of styling services from low-touch outfit inspiration through our digital channels to a high-touch and personalized relationship with a stylist, all of which achieved high customer satisfaction scores. We are directing our investment towards these programs to ensure that we are well-positioned to serve customer needs and drive growth."
According to the Business of Fashion, "Nordstrom acquired Trunk Club back in 2014, for a reported $350 million. The startup was created during the initial wave of subscription box services, where stylists would ship clothing to customers once they had fashion consultations. Nordstrom bought the business in an effort to update its personal styling, but failed to make Trunk Club profitable … Over the years, Nordstrom expanded Trunk Club into womenswear and also opened retail locations, but shuttered Trunk Club stores back in 2020."
- KC's View:
This story comes just days after the reports that StitchFix's efforts to expand beyond its subscription service had been unsuccessful, diluting the brand's brand equity.
I found out about the Trunk Club move from my twenty-something daughter, who has been a user of both StitchFix and Trunk Club; she told me that she preferred StitchFix, and recently had been putting off any Trunk Club deliveries because the choices just weren't relevant to her fashion preferences.
Tom Furphy and I talked about this last week in our Innovation Conversation, and one of the things that we focused on was the fact that we may be seeing some settling of the subscription business. In categories like fashion, where purchases are highly discretionary, there may be less interest at the moment because of changing economic realities; but in regular, habitual purchases of everyday items, subscriptions are likely to remain highly attractive. (I'll bet you that Amazon's Subscribe & Save will continue to be a revenue generator.)