Amazon has been the go-to source for women’s apparel online for many years, commanding a 20 percent share of the sales in this space year to year. Not too many e-commerce retailers in this space have even come close to the dominance set by Amazon, but it appears that one women’s active-wear company is creating some rumblings in the ranks. Kate Hudson’s Fabletics has pulled in an unbelievable $250 million is sales of workout apparel in only three years, and they don’t appear to be slowing.
If you ask Hudson about the success of her brand and workout apparel, she will tell you that it is a unique blending of her membership program and the sales process known as reverse showrooming. These are the keys to a success in a space that very few companies have even come close to matching. Looking at the Fabletics stores in the mall, we discover women of all ages buying new workout apparel off the rack, applying for the free membership, taking hat Fabletics Lifestyle Quiz, and trying on as many things as they can get their hands on.
Hudson says it doesn’t hurt the fact that there is a celebrity name attached to her high-quality line of active-wear. The success of the company actually doesn’t rest squarely on the shoulders of the stores in the mall, it is the e-commerce Fabletics sites that are pulling in all that sales revenue. When these customers eventually wind up shopping at the website, they discover that part of the benefits of the membership include all those items you wore at the store now showing up in your profile page. That takes the guesswork out of buying workout apparel, you simply need to pick colors, styles, and some of the newest releases and you know exactly what you are getting.
The other benefits to the membership include a personal shopper who is picking one item each month based on quiz answers, free shipping on every online order, and deals on workout apparel throughout the year. Kate Hudson’s Fabletics has found a way to connect with the buyers in a way that site like Amazon struggle. At Amazon, women buy a piece to see how it fits, often returning it several times before they finally get one they like. By that time, you could have bought a dozen outfits at Kate Hudson’s Fabletics and been wearing them already.