In-store experience: a competitive edge

14 January 2021

Located in the heart of Marylebone in London, the menswear store Trunk focuses on everlasting designs, premium quality and fit, and great personal service. This autumn, Trunk celebrated its 10th anniversary, and the Link caught up with Mats Klingberg, Founder and Managing Director at Trunk to learn more about the journey so far and the value of personal relationships in an industry that’s becoming more digitised. “It can be done, but it is difficult to create the same relations online as the ones in a physical store,” Mats says.

Born outside of Stockholm, Mats Klingberg moved to São Paolo, Brazil at a young age. With a great interest in travelling, he studied abroad in Switzerland, Spain, France, the US and in Växjö, to finally move to work in London, in 2005. Five years later, Trunk opened its doors on Chiltern Street in Marylebone, London. “Even though there is a large supply of menswear at shopping malls and stores, I felt that something like Trunk was missing. My vision with Trunk was to focus on menswear, for those with an appreciation for lasting design, quality and fit. By that, Trunk is not a trendy store, we provide timeless clothing in a nice environment and with great service,” Mats says. Trunk has during the last ten years grown into two stores in London, one in Zurich, and has established their own brand which is now available by retailers around the world such as Bergdorf Goodman in New York and Lane Crawford in Hong Kong. “When Trunk was launched we solely sold other brands, but during the last years we have developed our own brand which today accounts for 30% of sales.”

The value of trust
With a tight edit of carefully selected clothes, Mats curates his offering by looking at different aspects of the brands he selects. “For me, it has always been very important to know the brand’s history, in combination with great quality and everlasting designs.” The combination between Trunk’s narrow selection of menswear and the store staff’s friendly approach creates a calm environment of trust with the customers. “Many customers have been coming to us for years and have gotten to know the staff. We are more like friends and they put a lot of trust in us.” By choosing clothes that last for years and possibly generations ahead, Trunk hopes to contribute to more sustainable shopping. “We do not want to encourage that ‘throwaway’ mentality. We are focusing on sustainability through offering clothes that lasts a long time,” Mats says.

Going back to basics
Even though online-shopping has increased a lot during the recent years, and Trunk’s webshop sales tripled during this spring, Mats points out the importance of the personal in-store shopping experience. “It can be done, but it is difficult to create the same relations online as the ones in a physical store. To connect and establish a relationship with our customers has always been one of our main focuses,” Mats explains and continues: “I believe that the personal relationships still is ‘it’, it’s all about going back to basics.”

Compared to many other large online retailers, Mats points out how he rather sees it as an advantage being a smaller business, and thereby easier can communicate Trunk’s niche and vision. “Many brands today aims to offer everything to everyone which doesn’t create a distinct impression. I believe there is an opportunity to be a smaller business and have the opportunity to be more flexible, focused and have a strong, clear brand.”

Swedish heritage
Mats’ Swedish heritage has always influenced and been part of Trunk. Sweden has naturally always been an important market, but it still has potential for future development. “The style is Scandinavian and looking ahead, we would like to put some more focus on the Swedish market.” Aligned with this, Mats hopes to find the right combination to bring Trunk’s in-store experience online. “I see an opportunity in serving the customers online and improving those offers, but doing that in combination with the in-store contact we have with our customers.”

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