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January 20, 2017

The rise of multichannel retailing has made delivering a positive and consistent customer experience across all channels essential. Companies usually focus only on touch points, a single interaction or a transaction with customers which gives them a limited perspective because customers engage with them through different channels per their preferences and convenience. Keeping track of customer interactions across channels and integrating physical as well as digital experiences to deliver personalized customer experiences is critical for an omni-channel strategy.

In 2015, Gartner predicted that more than 50% of organizations will need to implement significant business model changes to improve the customer experience by 2018. The changes are already happening in some of the established and emerging retailers.

Fabletics, the affordable fitness wear brand known for having the extremely famous Kate Hudson as its brand ambassador and founder is an example of a retailer with a successful, innovative business model. Obviously having a well-known actress as its face tremendously helps Fabletics get a lot of eyeballs and attention. The company, established with an objective of selling fashionable active wear for non-designer prices, had a revenue of $150 million in 2015, with an increase of 35% in revenues every year since its launch in 2013. Fabletics has a valuation of $250 million within its three years of establishing and there seems to be no stopping as the brand moves to brick-and-mortar.

Fabletics subscription based membership model enables the company to provide highly personalized experiences both online and in-stores. With a unique product positioning and smart use of data science, it has succeeded in providing the perfect customer experience both online and offline.

Here are some unique ways in which Fabletics is providing a meaningful and relevant experience across the end to end customer journey, which starts online and continues in its physical stores.

Retail Stores based on Customer Data

The company has over 14 physical stores and plans to introduce nearly 100 in the next three to five years. Interestingly, Fabletics is taking the data science approach in locating its brick and mortar shops, not arbitrarily opening 15 stores in a big city and hoping customers will turn up. Taking cues from its online customer data, the brand plans to introduce stores where its online customers are and their brand awareness is high.

Personalized Stocks In-store

An essential aspect that Fabletics has embedded in the customer journey, both online and offline, is making the customer experience as relevant and meaningful as possible based on customer data. Customer insights from its online stores are used to customize and personalize stocks in-stores. Store inventory is based on online local data about membership preferences for local members, social media sentiment, store heat-mapping data and real-time sales activity. In-store data about customers also reveals customers reception and response to whats in stock, sending alerts if they repeatedly try items but dont make a purchase, or have size, fabric or other issues.

Showrooming as a Customer Service

Contrary to several retail stores that suffer due to showrooming where shoppers glance at items in stores and buy them cheaper online, Fabletics has embraced the concept. It encourages its store shoppers to look at items in the store and view similar items online. Fabletics uses their physical stores as a part of customer service. With a physical retail experience Fabletics not only sells to in-store shoppers, the brand also uses physical stores to engage with customers, to get to know them better and build relationships with them through various events and activities. 30%-50% of customers visiting Fabletics stores are members and 25% become members after visiting physical stores.

Integrated Online and Store Carts

Fabletics also uses an integrated shopping cart for online and in store shopping. When a customer or subscriber tries an item on in-store, it gets added to their virtual shopping cart as well. And, if a size or certain item is out of stock, employees can add the product to the subscribers online cart for delivery when the item is available.

Fabletics is among the growing list of data savvy brands who understand the needs of the modern consumer based on data science and deep customer insights. They fine-tune their strategy in accordance with the purchase behavior of the digital shopper. Fabletics is an example of a successful retailer that strategically converts customer data into actionable insights that enable them to deliver superior personalized experiences and build lasting customer loyalty.

Aditi Roy Ghatak is Digital Marketing Content Strategist with the TCS Digital Software & Solutions Group. She has extensive experience in technology research which includes upcoming trends in the digital, social and information technology field and analyzing their applications across businesses. She also has prior experience in market intelligence activities which included studying industry trends to identify potential business opportunities and has been responsible for segment and account based marketing. She has published articles on enterprise cloud applications across industries and digital as well as social media trends. She covers current topics and digital trends in the e-Commerce and customer analytics space on the Because Digital blog.


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