The omnichannel retailer rolled out a proprietary shopping cart technology called omnicart about 10 months ago, which has been key to the once online-only brand’s offline expansion, Throgmartin says. Store associates will scan products on an iPad that a shopper is trying on in a fitting room. If the shopper is a Fabletics member and the retailer has her email address on file, those products will automatically go in her online shopping cart.
Once a shopper is done trying those products on, she provides the fitting room attendant with feedback, choosing from one of five options on an iPad. If she selects the “did not like” option or completes the purchase in-store, the item is then removed from her online shopping cart. Otherwise, the item remains in her online shopping cart for her to purchase later.
“We don’t care whether she transacts online or in store,” he says. “If she comes in on her lunch break and goes back to the office, she can still have those items in her cart.”
Throgmartin declined to say what percentage of in-store shoppers wind up buying those products online after leaving a store. He did say consumers who shop with Fabletics through multiple channels are 3.2x more profitable for the retailer than those who only shop via a single channel.
“The more outlets you have for the customer, the easier you make it for them,” he says. “You just give them the most amount of options.”
The omnicart technology does more for Fabletics than remind a shopper of what she tried on in hopes of her buying it later. Throgmartin says because of that instant feedback that shoppers provide on specific products, the retailer learns in real time how those items are fitting, enabling Fabletics to refine its marketing messaging based on customer feedback instantly.
“Because we have over 1.2 million members, we know that Alexis is a medium and that’s what she normally buys from us,” he says as an example. “When she comes into our store and tries on new leggings and she has to buy that item in a small, we can learn that that item is running a little large and then update our website to tell shoppers on our site that that item is running a little large. We can learn conversion rates by SKU and we get feedback on what the customers didn’t buy.”
Fabletics is in the midst of an ambitious expansion that will increase its store count to 30 from 18 by the end of this year. Throgmartin says the company is set to open three new store locations by the middle of this month, bringing its total store count to 22.
While the company has big expansion plans, he says the retailer is taking its time when it opens a location rather than opening a bunch of stores all at once.
“There’s a lot of shakeup going on in retail and we feel like it’s a great time to be patient,” he says. “We have the flexibility and the resources and the team to do as many or as few (store openings) as we need. Because the bulk of our business is e-commerce, we’re not in the position where we have to open a set number of stores.”