In ye olden days, merchants filled their showrooms with products to entice passersby to open their purses and make a purchase. This was a time when shopping was a physical activity. People strolled store-lined streets to see what new offerings their local shops had available.
From local stores, retail moved inside to climate-controlled gatherings of stores of all types. Prospective buyers wandered the highways and byways of malls admiring merchandise and purchasing what they needed.
Recently, many of us have embraced electronic showrooms. We visit our favorite retailers virtually, select what we need and complete purchases without leaving the computer chair. We virtually window-shop, virtually try on clothing, and virtually redecorate.
Many of us do a great deal of our electronic shopping at the biggest shopping mall of all time: Amazon. Mother Amazon sells everything from milk to microwaves, from sofas to shoes. So dominant is Amazon that she controls close to 20% of the online clothing market.
Look out, Amazon, here comes Fabletics!
Fabletics is embracing and updating an old format to debut a new approach to fashion. Rather than posting a million pictures online and hoping you will stumble across something you will like, Fabletics is offering a subscription to their unique stylings. Become a VIP member and Fabletics sends you an appropriate new outfit every month, unless you tell them you want to skip a month’s delivery.
This is reverse showrooming. Rather than establishing themselves by opening a physical store and eventually capitalizing on loyal customers by extending the store online, Fabletics has begun as an online entity seeking loyal customers.
There are many benefits to VIP membership offered by Fabletics, but the foundation of the system is twofold. First, Fabletics has a nearly constantly-renewing array of fashion-forward apparel, so the look is always fresh and current. Part of VIP membership is an understanding of your personal style. By completing a short initial quiz and adding details to that data through returned and exchanged orders, Fabletics learns your style.
Fabletics uses this personal knowledge to curate a collection just for you. If your neighbor and you are both VIP members, there is little chance of you both receiving the same shipments for any given month. Fabletics creates your outfits from clothing that might not even be posted on the site. They use their knowledge of your color, activity and style preferences to create outfits that you will love.
The second pillar of their success is dedicated customer service. Fabletics clothing is high quality, current and unique. Fabletics seeks to please every customer with each monthly delivery. If you are not thrilled, they fix it by exchanges, store credit, replacements – whatever it takes.
This one-two punch of specialized quality and customer service, Fabletics is determined to entice and keep customers for years of happy shopping online and in the physical stores that are now opening.
By focusing on electronic sales and exceptional customer service, Fabletics is taking aim at Amazon’s 20% clothing market share. May the best merchandizer win.
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