Trunk Club

A Nordstrom-owned company

Trunk Club Conversions Jump 54% With Layer

Trunk Club believes that “great style is achieved through lasting relationships with real people.” With thousands of online shoppers and hundreds of stylists, the Nordstrom-owned company takes pride in its experiential retail approach to shopping.

Personal stylists evaluate shoppers’ existing wardrobes, styles and budgets, handpick new high-end clothes and ship customized ‘trunks’. Trunk Club’s unique combination of top brands, personal service and convenience cultivates a loyal following of women and men who trust the company to help them look their best.

  • IndustryE-commerce, retail, fashion
  • Size1500 Employees, 7 locations
  • LocationChicago, IL


  • 54%

    Increase in conversions
  • 200%

    Increase in shopper connection rates
  • 3x

    More shoppers purchasing trunks
  • 5x

    Improvement in rep productivity
  • 24h

    Transactional lifecycle improvement

Messaging scales one-to-one connections, fuels business success

Layer’s messaging is central to the shopping experience and critical to our conversion effectiveness. We used to live in a world where we could only reach 25 percent of our signups after a couple of weeks. Now, we see up to 87 percent of members reaching out and connecting to our stylists, via chat.

Justin Hughes, VP of Product, Trunk Club

The Challenge

“We thought that if we called shoppers 30 seconds after they signed up for Trunk Club, while they were still at their computers, we could get them past any hesitation to buy,” he said. “Instead of being responsive, customers thought it was creepy. It ruined the magic for them.”

In brick-and-mortar retail stores, stylists cultivate personal connections with shoppers, bolstering confidence, enhancing convenience and establishing a positive brand association that keeps shoppers coming back. While this model is easy to achieve in person, building trust over the internet, at scale, has proven to be a challenge. Websites tend to distract customers with too much choice, and other means of contact, such as phone or chat, can prove intrusive if not carefully optimized.

Trunk Club interacts with thousands of new customers every week. The company wanted to maintain its one-to-one experience at scale, with minimal interference from customer-facing technology.

The goal was to quickly connect shoppers to stylists, learn shopper preferences and ship out a trunk in the shortest amount of time possible. Justin Hughes, vice president of product at Trunk Club, discovered that not all approaches are created equal when it comes to facilitating speed.

A subsequent survey uncovered the fact that the majority of customers did not want to receive a phone call at all. The team tested other onboarding initiatives, but could not scale the personal experience, despite decent funnel metrics.

The Fix

“We started to see a lot of fringe competitors pop up, and knew that we had to up the ante with chat,” said Hughes. “PSDepartment, Operator and Facebook Messenger, while providing interesting ways to connect people with items over chat, were not doing it exceptionally well. They lacked depth of product, geo-presence or expertise in any one area. We wanted to provide customers with all three benefits.”

Trunk Club innovated a rich and complete approach to personalized messaging: conversational commerce. Stylists would not only help customers via chat, but would introduce them to products and facilitate conversions, all within the messaging workflow.

“Building a cross-platform messaging technology is expensive,” said Hughes. “We didn’t want to take that on ourselves. We searched long and hard for a partner and found a phenomenal one in Layer, which helped us build an awesome messaging and transaction experience.”

The Experience

  • OnboardingConnect with customers quickly, eliminating the need for an introductory email or sales call.
  • Review & approve a trunkBuild a high-touch online shopping experience that transcends SMS messaging.
  • From the stylist point of viewManage thousands of conversations and transactions with precision detail through a desktop CRM.
  • Checkout & delivery trackingSimplified workflow enables same-day product mailing, compared to two weeks before Layer.

The Result

Messaging turned out to be a missing link for Trunk Club. Instead of waiting for a phone call or email, customers immediately connect with stylists online or via smartphone. “We used to live in a world where we could only reach 25 percent of our signups after a couple of weeks,” said Hughes. “Now we see up to 87 percent of members reach out and connect to us.” Because more customers connect to stylists, Trunk Club has become more efficient across the board.

Customers quickly establish relationships with stylists and express their personal preferences via chat, which in turn lets Trunk Club mail out customer orders in a single day instead of two weeks (the previous rate). Funnel conversions have jumped up across the board, with substantial growth in connection rates, efficiencies, conversion rates, and response rates, and a drop in overall return rates.

“The results are astounding. Conversation commerce has tripled the number of people taking trunks. Our conversions are up 54 percent, and more importantly, our customers are far happier with the prompt service.”

Looking Ahead

Trunk Club continues to build out use cases for Layer, including call and appointment scheduling, and better tools to manage tens of simultaneous conversations. But the bones of the matter are the same, namely that customer experience defines retail success.

Layer’s messaging communication format, coupled with the capability to scale one-to-one service, is the perfect.

combination to move customers through the purchase journey faster, with a positive impact on every conceivable business metric.

“The experience that surrounds your product is your first moment of truth,” said Hughes. “You need to arm the money-making side of your business with the best weapons you can afford, and Layer is one of them.”

Learn more about how Layer can boost your conversion rates.