Bandier is bringing two of its top-selling brands to a larger stage. The luxury women’s activewear retailer, which sells its products through six stores and its own e-commerce site, will now sell its All Access and WSLY private labels on Amazon.
The All Access brand offers activewear essentials, with flagship products including the Center Stage leggings, Front Row Bra, and Chorus Bra alongside biker shorts, bras and tanks. On the other hand, the sustainably produced WSLY label features transitional merchandise like the Rivington Tank, cult-favorite Ecosoft Classic Hoodie + Jogger and a collection of sweatshirts, sweat suits, sweatpants and hoodies.
“As part of our ongoing commitment to provide the best curation of fashion-meets-fitness, our private labels All Access and WSLY are no exception,” said Jennifer Bandier, founder of Bandier. “This new relationship with Amazon is an important milestone for Bandier and we continue to meet our consumers wherever they currently shop. We’re thrilled to have both brands available on Amazon.com/bandier, allowing us to meet the demands of the activewear boom while continuing to support our Bandier community.”
The question of whether to sell on Amazon or not has been one many brands have posed in recent years in an effort to gain more exposure to a wider range of consumers. Birkenstock was one of the first major brands to spurn Amazon by leaving the e-commerce marketplace in 2016, frustrated with counterfeited versions of its familiar footwear products, as well as the legion of unauthorized sellers that could harm the brand’s equity.
In 2019, Nike famously followed suit, with the athletic titan also unsatisfied with Amazon’s attempts at cracking down on knockoffs. This move appeared to be a precursor of the company’s ambition to boost sales through its own direct-to-consumer channels.
But 2020 has actually told a different story due to the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on consumer spending, particularly in e-commerce. In fact, 42 percent more brands are selling on Amazon now than before Covid-19 began, according to a survey from Feedvisor, an AI-powered optimization and intelligence platform for brands selling on the e-commerce giant’s marketplace.
Of the 1,000 brands studied, Feedvisor says 78 percent of them are currently selling Amazon, up from 55 percent pre-Covid. While Carter’s, a major retail brand in its own right with more than 1,000 stores, is seeing wholesale declines of nearly 17 percent, the infant and children’s wear retailer said its best wholesale performance came through its exclusive brands for Amazon, Walmart and Target, which in total grew 13 percent across all three.
Bandier’s third-party e-commerce ambitions beyond Amazon aren’t known, but most brands are taking their chances by diversifying on numerous platforms with different goals in mind, the Feedvisor study said. Over half (57 percent) of brands on Amazon leverage additional online marketplaces to build brand awareness, up from 50 percent last year. And while 52 percent say they use the marketplaces to drive sales, 43 percent say they turn to these channels to liquidate products.
Aligning with the growth on its platform, Amazon has taken notable steps to counter the kind of rampant counterfeiting that warded off companies like Birkenstock and Nike. In 2019, Amazon launched Project Zero as its first major stand against counterfeit items, which included the use of machine learning technology to scan 5 billion product listings daily and even allowed brands to remove counterfeit listings themselves.
Amazon kicked off 2020 by saying that it had invested $400 million in hiring 5,000-plus employees to police fraudulent and abusive behaviors, including counterfeiting. The e-commerce giant agreed to work more closely with law enforcement to root out bad actors and specifically hand over more data on the fake goods listed on its marketplace.
Most recently, Amazon partnered with the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) in November in a joint operation designed to prevent counterfeit goods from entering the U.S. and help protect U.S. consumers. U.S. Customs and Border Protection and DHL are also supporting the operation.
With Amazon’s investments now working on a federal level, that could at least give more brands some confidence that selling on the platform may be a better option than it was two years ago. And its willingness to use the court system to pursue bad actors indicates its seriousness to tackle this issue.
For now, it appears that Bandier is only selling the All Access and WSLY brands on Amazon, while the retailer’s recently launched Le Ore lineup of activewear and loungewear brand is still exclusive to Bandier.
Bandier prides itself on offering a mix of its own niche startup labels in combination with collections from top athleisure and activewear brands such as Nike, New Balance and On. The company also has a partnership with Bala, selling the brand’s “Bala bangles,” fashionable, wearable weights designed to be worn on the wrists or ankles during a workout. Additionally, Bandier sells collections from brands such as designer apparel brand La Detresse, dress, pajamas and nightgown brand Sleeper and jewelry seller Alexa Leigh.
The fashionable, yet functional, mentality of Bandier serves the company well in a time when both athleisure and comfort have taken precedence in apparel spend. While total apparel sales declined 19 percent in 2020, according to NPD Group data, categories that thrived included sweatpants at 17 percent growth and sports bras improving 10 percent, according to NPD data.
And if there’s any reflection of the popularity of these categories, look at the biggest names in retail. In just one year, Target grew its private-label activewear brand All in Motion past the $1 billion sales mark. Kohl’s doubled its active category since 2013 to 20 percent of its total product mix, now planning to grow the segment to 30 percent of its business with a major overhaul including new brand partnerships and a new private label. And JCPenney redesigned its own Xersion activewear assortment. Even L.L. Bean has gotten in on the fun, launching its first ever athleisure collection last month.