The emergence of activewear as a fashion trend has led to the already crowded online fashion market experiencing monumental growth. It has, therefore, become increasingly difficult for fashion retailers-newcomers especially, to rise above the noise and distinguish themselves as unique. One company that has seemingly defied this is the online retailer Fabletics. Founded in 2013 by Adam Goldenberg, Don Ressler and Kate Hudson, it has emerged in three short years as the go-to provider of fashionable, premium activewear. This is no small feat considering the traditional dominance of the market by more established brands. Unlike traditional online retailers, the company works on a subscription model whereby customers pay a monthly fee to become members. The basic premise is; membership offers exclusivity.
Fabletics offers affordability, personalized service, and convenience. Although it is primarily known for its online presence, currently, the company has sixteen physical stores around the country with plans for further expansion. Catering to an increasingly aspirational and media savvy public, the company heavily relies on actress Kate Hudson as its spokesmodel. In having a Hollywood heavy-weight like Kate Hudson fronting the brand, the company has scored a marketing coup.
The decline of traditional brick-and-mortar stores has long been attributed to showrooming. This phenomenon sees individuals browsing in-store for products and then looking online for cheaper options and buying them there. Brands like Fabletics have found ways to counter this by using reverse showrooming. As the name suggests, individuals look up items online but then go to a physical store to complete their purchases. This strategy has worked well for Fabletics. Up to 30-50%of customers in their stores are already members. When they try on clothes in-store, these are added to their online cart. This seamless transition between the online and in-store experience has proven a key component of the company’s overall strategy. In addition, Fabletics is continually collecting data from customers about their shopping preferences. This helps to inform trends as well as what is stocked in the stores.
Amazon, the online shopping behemoth has dominated the online shopping market for the past few years, and no company’s discourse on marketing strategy is complete without finding a way to counter and compete. Amazon currently controls 20% of the online fashion market. What Fabletics has excelled in doing is selling its members on exclusivity. They counter Amazon by continually reminding their customers that they are purchasing unique pieces. This major selling point has managed to attract a myriad of new customers to the brand. Fabletics has also differentiated itself from Amazon by focusing heavily on research on customer trends. They are constantly engaging customers in order to find out their needs and likes. In doing so, they have been able to build an inclusive and mutually beneficial customer experience. This has been instrumental in building up brand loyalty; the key to any company’s success.