As Forbes.com notes competing in a marketplace like online retail fashion where ecommerce pioneer and giant Amazon is winning big is no easy task. Even so, according to business writer Paul Armstrong, that is exactly what the women’s athleisure company Fabletics and its savvy team of co-founders that includes actress Kate Hudson is managing to do. Fabletics appears to be mastering implementing the right mix of digital shopping experience, branding, personalization and offline shopping experience.
It does this by using a business model that is more common place among online companies that are in the entertainment space like Netflix and Hulu than it is among e commerce retail companies. That business model is known as the subscription. The subscription model has allowed the company to start opening brick-and-mortar stores that complement its digital offerings rather than compete with them. With the proliferation of online shopping some stores have found themselves falling victim to the showroom effect where customers will visit their stores in-person to decide whether or not they like an item and then they purchase the item online after finding a cheaper deal. The store unintentionally becomes a showroom of sorts while stores lose out on sales. Instead of being showrooms for drive-by customers Fabletics’ brick-and-mortar stores have become an alternate offline shopping experience for customers who have already signed up for memberships through their website. Those customers now have the option of shopping for their monthly outfit online or offline and new customers are often signed up for memberships at the stores themselves. As Paul Armstrong put it: “Fabletics does not care where the customer buys in store, retail is just another element of service.”
Fabletics is a women’s athleisure and fitness wear brand that was co-founded by the forces behind Fab, Inc. and Golden Globe winner and actress Kate Hudson. The company works to provide clothing to women with a wide variety of body types and lifestyles with clothing that they can feel confident in at the workplace and the gym. It does this by creating a brief assessment that surveys a customer about her lifestyle, her preferred mode of exercise and her body type. The survey then matches the customer with the Fabletics apparel choices that would best serve her needs based on her answers. One of the many things that distinguishes Fabletics from other athleisure brands is its penchant for offering clothing that is both fashionable and high quality at an affordable price point.
The company makes the process of shopping for workout attire more fun as customers can select clothing options that have been crafted to hold up during an intense Zumba workout while also looking flattering underneath a black blazer paired with a pair of slacks during a meeting with a client. Fabletics offers a unique retail model that allows shoppers to sign up for a subscription service to its website. A Fabletics subscription allows subscription holders the ability to purchase athleisure clothing at discounted rates. The subscription service, known as VIP membership, offers the customers that purchase it perks like being able to buy outfits from Fabletics at a discount as high as 50 percent off and receiving free shipping for purchases that cost more than $49.95. Fabletics’ VIP Members can also accumulate reward points that they can apply to getting free clothes. Fabletics’ customers are treated to the option to purchase new styles each month and VIP members have the privilege of being able to purchase their first outfit for $15.