Breaking into online retail is a tall order in 2017. The competition is suffocating, with legions of would-be entrepreneurs gunning for the heads of one another and looking to topple the behemoth that reigns over them all: Amazon. Very few manage, even partially, to succeed in the space. That’s why when a challenger like Fabletics, Kate Hudson’s rising athleisure company, manages to make waves it’s all the more surprising.
A November 2016 Forbes article, entitled ‘How Kate Hudson’s Fabletics Is Taking On Amazon,‘ is an excellent primer on how the relatively new retailer is doing so well. Firstly, Fabletics embraces a niche. And a niche on the rise at that; ‘athleisure’ is the fashion trend of the future, something Fabletics and Hudson have recognized and capitalized on quite well. Athleisure is as it sounds; athletic wear meant to be worn on more occasion that than the gym.
Second and perhaps most important, Fabletics avoids the pitfalls that sink so many other retailers by making them into a boon all their own. One such pitfall is ‘showrooming,’ and it’s perhaps the most damning invention of the online retail age for most retailers. Showrooming occurs when a customer uses a physical retailer to view a product, gets a feel for it, and then uses online retailers to find a better price on that same product, leaving the original store high and dry. Fabletics has turned this on its head, as once a customer tries something on in store, that same piece of clothing is added to their online cart. It’s irrelevant to Fabletics where the customer chooses to buy, as the profit is theirs all the same. It’s a near perfect, catch-all solution to what many thought to be the death-knell of brick and mortar stores.
Fabletics has the winning take on retail, online and otherwise. The company, poised for a staggering 35% growth over the next year, is making strides where even Amazon has floundered. The key, according to their Forbes write-up, is in accessibility. Kate Hudson aims to take the athleisure from a niche to a staple of modern fashion by making it available to everyone. Fabletics understand that the modern consumer doesn’t want to be at the whim of the retailer. Fast purchase options, flexible customer service, and ‘risk positive’ brands are the way of the future. Fabletics has recognized this and acted on the trends in stride. While Fabletics is an incredibly appealing name now, it won’t be a surprise to any retail analysts if the venture turns into the athleisure giant of the future.