In these unsettled economic times, you have to have a great marketing plan to launch a new endeavor. Furthermore, if your intended competitor is Amazon.com, that plan better be more than great; it better be awesome.
Welcome into the ring, Fabletics, a tyro in the online retail market ready to give Amazon some competition. Currently, Amazon commands 20% of the online retail market and Fabletics is making a successful bid for a part of the business specializing in high-end, high-fashion exercise clothing.
Fabletics is armed for the competition with some interesting, innovative ideas. To attract a customer base, Fabletics offers a complete exercise outfit for about $20, a token fee that can hardly cover more than shipping.
That initial offering comes with VIP membership in Fabletics. This means that each customer who takes advantage of the low introductory outfit offer enrolls as a Fabletics member agreeing to consider the curated monthly offerings the company ships.
To sweeten this already super-sweet deal, Fabletics includes a ‘get out of jail free’ process that is hard to beat. Each month, customers have the option of declining a shipment even before it ships.
When they receive a shipment, the clothing is chosen based on each customer’s stated preferences for color, clothing type and preferred form of exercise; this is the unique touch of Fabletics. Unlike many membership programs, they do not ship every member the same articles of clothing each month. They send each customer clothing that they think will appeal to them based on their previous shopping patterns and on the information they provided. This is less like online shopping that having a personal shopper at their command.
Supporting this cutting-edge approach to membership, Fabletics brand is based on high quality, unique, fashion-forward styling. Customers will not see five women dressed as they are on their next trip to the gym. Additionally, this program aims at a higher level of customer satisfaction and hopefully, retention.
Using a plan they call reverse showrooming, they are now opening a limited number of stores in targeted areas in which the clothing is already selling well. These stores follow the customization process defined by the online membership.
They offer clothing similar to the successful offerings in the area rather than carrying a full merchandise line. As a further innovation, Fabletics builds on the membership concept in the stores so that all member purchases are credited to their VIP accounts.
However, Fabletics current success is more than just basic customization.
Fabletics offers real variety in their offerings, including bold colors, interesting patterns and innovative designs. Bringing this level of variety to the customer’s door each month is successfully creating a dedicated foundation of repeat customers and helping to advertise the brand as increasing numbers of members wear and chat up the products.
Maybe Amazon doesn’t have to start a major restructuring today as a result of the Fabletics challenge, but they better look behind them; Fabletics is catching up.