What does Little Fabletics have to do with Amazon?
Recently, Fabletics threw their hat into the ring, announcing their intention to compete with Amazon for their 20% of the eCommerce apparel market share. To contest with such a giant for the clothing business, Fabletics needs to have a strong product, remarkable advertising and loyal customers – and they are making a bid for all three.
Both Amazon and Fabletics are eCommerce companies, marketing through the internet, so far they are equal. However, Fabletics has a focus on fitness apparel, a strong, recognizable spokesperson and a circumscribed product line, which is working in their favor. Though Amazon might not feel the loom of Fabletics quite yet, it’s time for them to begin glancing behind.
The Basics of Reverse Showrooming
Most apparel companies begin with a few mall stores, selling nearly identical stock. They arrange windows and showrooms to entice customers.
Fabletics elected to sell directly to the public, bypassing the malls. However, since they were a new name on the scene, they needed something to build trust and instill in potential customers a feeling of confidence and quality.
Bypassing the Showroom
First, they used Kate Hudson, a well-known beauty, fitness expert and actress, to advertise their products. Ms. Hudson is famous for her dancing ability and her interest in fitness so customers would feel she would not represent a poor quality product.
Building on that foundation, Fabletics offered new customers a smashing deal: a complete fitness outfit for $20, with your VIP subscription. Ah, here’s the next step in the plan – subscription. For Fabletics, making a single sale was not enough; they needed a loyal customer base and were sure that the subscription would supply one.
Fabletics knew that people had a less than positive opinion of subscriptions because of the experiences they had of being locked into an arrangement that no longer suited them. To fight this issue, Fabletics re-designed the subscription concept. Rather than functioning to serve the interests of the company, they reversed the idea to function for the customer.
By putting the customer firmly in the driver’s seat, Fabletics created a subscription that people could enjoy. You can return anything you don’t love for replacement or credit. If you don’t want a shipment for a month or so, just let them know and your order will be suspended. Want to end the subscription for a while? Just inform them.
On to the Showroom
With a strong subscription clientele with all manner of VIP benefits, Fabletics is now opening physical stores. Customers can join the VIP club when they make purchases, existing members can apply their points and benefits to store purchases and Fabletics stocks the stores with the kind of clothing that is popular in that area, as learned from the subscription customers.
By now you see how clever Fabletics is, turning the subscription concept backwards as well as reversing the showroom idea. Time will tell if this cleverness is sufficient to attract some of Amazon’s apparel business.