Amazon has been at the top spot in online apparel sales for several years now, and they usually don't have to be too concerned about the nearest competitor for a number of reasons. Amazon is already grabbing around 20 percent of all sales in this space, and due to the thousands of other retailers fighting for the same dollar, that means they have a huge gap to the closest competitor. That being said, Kate Hudson's Fabletics is trying to change that, putting some real pressure on Amazon this year. In three years, Kate Hudson's Fabletics has already taken in over $250 million in sales of workout apparel for women.
When Hudson discusses the success of her athleisure brand, it seems that the two basic keys are a sales practice known as reverse showrooming and the unique membership package she gives her customers. These are not new techniques, in fact, many clothing retailers are using them in one form of another. We head to the local mall to go into the Fabletics store to see how these two processes work. Right away you notice something different. Customers are all over the store trying on as many of the tank tops, leggings, and yoga pants they want. They are not being pressured from sales associates, rather then are being encouraged to fill our membership forms, take lifestyle quizzes, try on the clothes, or window-shop.
Now we go to the e-commerce Fabletics store, where women are putting those membership perks to good use. Women who were in the mall store and trying on all those pieces of active-wear and workout apparel find the pieces they loved are moved to their online accounts. Knowing these pieces fit them perfectly in the mall, they do not have to be apprehensive about shopping online. Instead, they stuff the online shopping cart with the latest colors and styles of workout apparel so they can be the first at the gym t show off their new apparel.
Take a look at how this shopping experience plays out when you visit a site like eBay or similar. Since you can't see or try on the merchandise, you take your best guess as to which size should fit. The size small in one brand and another could be completely different, and if it doesn't fit, you need to send it back. This process takes time, so if you have to return the piece twice, by the time the right piece does arrive we are looking at several weeks down the road. Most women don't have the patience for that type shopping experience.
Membership perks at Kate Hudson's Fabletics also include free shipping for those online orders and discounts on merchandise. Each customer who becomes a member gets their own shopping assistant who will use those quiz answers to select one item each month for the customer to consider. These are just some of the reasons Kate Hudson's Fabletics is positioning themselves to push Amazon off that top spot in the competitive clothing niche.