It can’t be denied that the ship-to-consumer membership model has become huge for nearly all categories of our life: food, beauty, decor, clothing, fitness…the list goes on. When it comes to apparel, Kate Hudson’s Fabletics stands out as one of the most successful brands of athletic apparel that has become a household name in the ship-to-consumer craze.
A recent Forbes article detailed not only the savvy of this brand in the realm of online shopping, or the membership model, but how its success that snowballed due to the “reverse showroom technique.” Many brands build a fleet of stores that they see as the showroom for their products. Ideally, customers flock to these showrooms and if the quality and price of the product is feasible for that audience, they make a purchase. However, we all know that isn’t the case in today’s multi-platform sales space. Today’s consumer often visits the store, or showcase, to determine the quality, check price points and feel a product in their hands. Then, that same consumer turns around and buys a product from an online retailer, such as Amazon, as a less expensive rate. In fact, one in three consumers now does a price check while they are in the physical store from their phone. Markets say even the difference of a few cents is enough to encourage shoppers to buy on line for the thrill of knowing they scored a save.
Fabletics ingenious reverse showroom model ensures brings the showroom to the digital space. Instead of seeing online shopping as an afterthought, a “must have” for today’s digital consumer, it builds the showroom experience within its platform. Fabletics has an incredible Lifestyle Quiz that each new member or potential member takes. The Quiz’s algorithm takes unique preferences of each user and combines them to build a profile of gear and style best suited for each person. Two digital showrooms are rarely the same, and each month the outfits suggested are curated for the individual consumer. In this way, consumers feel they are part of the showroom, as it exists in any computer or mobile device.
Fabletics does have a handful of locations and due to the selective nature of a physical store these stores have become stables of shopping for a broad radius of people in each location and beyond, as well as a destination for tourists visiting those cities that are already familiar with the Fabletics brand.
As a Fabletics member, I recommend the products to girlfriends, and strangers at the gym, all the time. I tent to baulk at the extravagant prices of names like LuluLemon, that seem to be expensive just for the sake of being expensive, as the quality is lagging. Each piece I’ve bought from Fabletics was made from thick material and after 6 months of use I’ve only had one piece that didn’t stand the test of time – and that was due to an a clutzy wine spill on a white top at a post-cycle class mixer – so that is on me. Overall, I love the brand and the freshness Kate Hudson breathes into it and would recommend giving it a try.