Amazon is huge and Fabletics is just this little start-up based on suppling women with fashionable fitness wear – how can they possibly pose a threat to Amazon?
Well, in real, concrete terms, it may be a while before Amazon notices Fabletics. However, Fabletics’ business model is based on taking a nip out of the 20% market share of Amazon’s apparel Ecommerce business.
What does Fabletics have to Offer?
Fabletics’ research shows that there is an active market in women who want fashionable fitness clothing but have little time to go store to store making selections. This group of women targeted by Fabletics is both demanding and interested in individual style. They do not want to wear the exact same outfit that everyone at the gym or on the block bought. They insist upon having a unique look.
Knowing this, Fabletics is focused on doing what Amazon does not do: customized service. To claim this special service, Fabletics needs data that customers supply, hence the registration quiz.
When you place your initial order with Fabletics, you take a short quiz that informs them as to your fitness and style interests. This also serves as your registration into their subscription VIP service. They entice new customers into the club with an exceptional offer, such as a complete outfit for $20, or two pairs of the best leggings ever for a similar price.
Keeping VIP Members
It’s not easy to keep customers, every retailer knows that. You have to offer something special to keep them coming back. In this case, most Fabletics customers are subscribers, anticipating monthly deliveries, so you might think that loyalty is a done deal.
However, since Fabletics offers an easy-out clause with every membership, they need to improve on the deal to keep customers and they do that through customization.
Each month Fabletics ships VIP customers clothing specifically designed to meet their needs and tastes. By enabling customers to return anything they don’t want for exchange or store credit, Fabletics makes is as easy as possible to enjoy subscription.
In addition, Fabletics has designed a loyalty program that makes being a returning customer very attractive indeed.
Now to Stores
With this foundation of loyal Ecommerce customers, Fabletics is opening physical stores. Again, Fabletics is not following the well-trodden path of other retailers. Each Fabletics store is stocked differently, based on the preferences of the local Fabletics VIP community. This means that a store in your home town will carry merchandise different from a store three states over. This is another example of Fabletics applying the data they receive from their loyal base of customers, and it appears to be working.
On Beyond Fitness Clothing
So successful has the Fabletics’ unusual interpretation of Ecommerce and retail been that the business is already expanding beyond its initial borders in fitness. Already we see Fabletics fashions in casual dress, shoes and other categories. Soon, Fabletics may be your only “designer” and you won’t have to leave the house to consult her!