If you did not purchase anything from Amazon this winter, you may be a Martian. Amazon currently commands 20% of the online fashion market and that number is only growing. Any emerging electronic retailer must be ready to compete with Amazon and that is just what Kate Hudson’s Fabletics is doing.
How does anyone fight a giant? Well, in the Old Testament, David took aim at a weak spot on his giant to fell him with a slingshot. Can Fabletics use that logic to compete with Amazon? It seems so.
Amazon’s strengths are speed, vast variety and ease. Fabletics began selling based on an almost contrary model. Fabletics is founded on a membership model. All membership models are somewhat exclusive, the opposite of Amazon’s come one, come all culture.
To attract customers to become members, Fabletics entices them with an amazing deal: a complete outfit for $20. People who want the deal, must accept membership, which they can cancel immediately if they desire. However, Fabletics’ success is based on customers being so pleased with the initial offering, that they are eager to remain members and accept new fitness outfits each month.
Customers are remarkably distractible, so to ensure maintaining customer membership and interest, Fabletics customizes each order. With hundreds of thousands of customers all over the world, how is that possible? Data is the key. With membership, you complete a survey of your exercise and fashion preferences such as what kind of clothing you wear for exercise and what types of exercise you prefer from cycling to dance. This is the foundational information Fabletics has about each customer.
Each month, customers are shipped, without a shipping fee which is so annoying to many electronic purchasers, a new outfit. Customers may accept the outfit for which they are charged approximately $50; they may accept part of the outfit and accept store credit for whatever they return; they can return the entire shipment for store credit or refund for which there is a small processing fee or they can inhibit shipping for the month through their online account.
Based on the style, type and design of the returned clothing, Fabletics “learns” individual tastes. Subsequently, they apply that data to the following shipments. Customizing becomes more successful and by providing quality, fashion-forward garments, Fabletics builds a reliable brand with legs to stride into the future.
Based on their electronic success, Fabletics is opening brick and mortar stores that continue their customization process. For example, a store in a mall on the east coast will feature products that have been selling well in that area that may not appear in a west coast sister store at all. Customer’s VIP membership also functions in the physical stores, avoiding a common practice among shoppers of trying on items in a physical environment only to purchase online.