TechStyle now operates nearly 30 stores. The data it gets from consumers shopping in its stores is better than its website data, the retailer says.

TechStyle opened four stores in the first five months of 2019 and plans to open eight more in 2019. And for good reason: Comparable-store sales are growing 25% year over year, says TechStyle chief operating officer Anton von Rueden.

TechStyle operates athletic apparel brand Fabletics.com, as well as brands JustFab.com, Fabkids.com, ShoeDazzle.com and Savagex.com.

TechStyle now has 28 stores, mostly under the Fabletics brand. Its goal is to eventually have 100 stores, and for every one of its VIP loyalty program members to live within a 25-mile driving distance of a store.

“For us, opening a new retail store of course gets us new sales from people who we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise, but we also see that having people interact with us in the store in addition to online does increase their activity with us,” says von Rueden, referring to the bump TechStyle sees in a shopper’s lifetime value. “As we marry online and offline, what we find is that the lifetime value of the customers that meet us in the retail store as well as online is 2.5-times better than just the pure online customers.”

Startups that first began selling online and then opened stores have some advantages. Whereas many established retailers are saddled with older technology that is expensive to replace chain-wide, primary-web newcomers can implement the newest systems available, such as software that provides consolidated view of store and online inventory. For example, von Rueden says he’s heard store-based retailers complaining of not knowing a location’s sales until two or three hours after the registers close, whereas TechStyle can receive updates instantly.

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What’s more, TechStyle collects as much, if not more, data when someone visits its stores as it does when she visits one of its websites. Because TechStyle is focused on its loyalty program members, store associates in the store can “check in” a shopper at the store, by asking for her phone number or email address. In a dressing room, the attendant will scan each item the shopper tries on, and will know what that shopper buys. This enables TechStyle to know the conversion rate of each of its garments, based on how many shoppers who try on something go on to buy it. Plus, if that shopper is a member, it will know what that shopper tried on and purchased or didn’t purchase.

“For people that we know, we can track them in the store exactly as if they were on our website, and even better if they try on a garment,” von Rueden says.

TechStyle is No. 76 in the Internet Retailer 2019 Top 500 and the 26th largest online apparel retailer, out of the 250-plus apparel merchants in Internet Retailer’s Top 1000.

This article is based on a section of the Internet Retailer Online Apparel report. The 75-page report dives into the current state of online apparel merchants, including opening stores, closing stores, investment funding round and more. Obtain the 2019 Internet Retailer Online Apparel Report here.

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