While business uses big data to determine consumer wants and needs, customers use their own version of that – crowdsourced reviews to determine which products to buy. One business that leads in capitalizing on this trend, Fabletics, stands out.
The athleisure brand founded by “Almost Famous” actress Kate Hudson, leverages big data via an incoming customer survey, then encourages customer reviews of each product sold on its site. The Fabletics customer base varies in their favorite form of exercise from runners to weight lifters to yogis, but their common community thread is a healthy, active lifestyle. Fabletics customers know they can trust reviews on the site just as they would their mom’s or best friend’s recommendation because the entire Fabletics community is like them – active and health-minded.
The proof that the one-two combination of data sharing works lies in Fabletics’ growth and bottom line. Launched in 2013, the company experienced more than 200 percent growth in four years, earning more than $235 million. It uses a membership plan with an automatically shipped monthly outfit based on each user’s preferences. Although consumers can purchase items without joining, most become members. Fabletics membership surpassed one million in only four years. Membership provides a deep discount on each outfit. Customers buy often and pass along what they thought of each piece of athletic wear providing sales help from the crowd, as well as, data for the company to improve products.
Search engines notice the power of the crowd, too. Google ranks businesses and brands with positive reviews higher than others. E-retailers like Walmart.com and Target.com noticed, as well. They began integrating brand reviews from other sites to flesch out items they carry with few reviews. But, Hudson’s brand doesn’t need that.
It has the support of its million-plus members, a number that includes celebrities like Demi Lavato, who worked with Hudson on one season’s fashions. Lavato echoes many fans of the brand, saying that its and Hudson’s authenticity drew her to it, as much as the well-crafted workout gear.
Again, customer actions back up those words. According to Shawn Gold, Corporate Marketing Officer of Fabletics’ parent company, TechStyle Fashion Group, 85 percent of its sales come from repeat customers. Those customers convert friends – 17 percent of new customer come via referral. Beyond its e-commerce venture, Fabletics opened 22 retail locations to date and plans more. Now, that’s four years of growth that shows the importance of trust and the power of the people.