Just Add Beer: Trunk Club Gives Men a Reason to Shop (Video)

Trunk Club is a personal shopping service that will send customers a box — or a trunk — of clothes based on what they like or need.

And while most of the e-commerce company’s transactions would logically occur over the Internet, to my surprise, it also has a pretty big offline business.

During my recent visit to Trunk Club’s offices in Chicago, CEO Brian Spaly gave me a behind-the-scenes tour to show me how customers are treated if they happen to find themselves in the neighborhood.

What I found was a “man cave” vibe, where men are encouraged to kick back, sip a beer from one of the kegs on tap, and try on clothes that are handpicked by stylists.

They won’t find tight, uncomfortable dressing rooms with fluorescent lighting here. Instead, the loft-like setting features comfortable leather couches and spacious changing areas. Spaly says the culture definitely gets men to open their wallets, too. While in-person visits make up only 20 percent of all transactions, it represents 30 percent of the company’s revenue, he said.

In the traditional online model, consultants ship items to customers after getting a sense for what they’d like over the phone or email; customers then keep what they want and ship the rest back. Shipping is free both ways.

Spaly, who left Bonobos in December 2009 to run Trunk Club, said the company will soon relocate to a bigger office to accommodate its growing staff and emphasis on visits from their customers. Today, it has 48 full-time sales reps; soon there will be 50. It serves roughly 13,000 men, 60 percent of whom are repeat customers.

It’s too early to tell if it makes sense to open up storefronts in other cities, but Spaly says he’s considering trying it in major cities like San Francisco, New York and Dallas.

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