One brand is leveraging the activewear craze to come out of the pandemic with an amplified physical presence. Fabletics is expanding its brick-and-mortar footprint in 2021 by almost 50 percent, with the activewear retailer opening 24 new stores across the U.S. to close the year with 74 locations.
With approximately 2 million VIP members under its belt and recently surpassing $500 million in annual revenue, the data supports Fabletics’ decision to add to its store base.
Adam Goldenberg, CEO and co-founder of Fabletics, summarized his thoughts on the industry in a statement: “We feel great about the return of retail.” The expansion kicked off this month with the relocation and redesign of the brand’s Mall of America location in Bloomington, Minn.
Fabletics has often prided itself on being a data-driven, tech-savvy retail business that carried its digital roots into its physical operation, even developing and deploying its own enterprise retail platform, OmniSuite, to serve as the backbone of its e-commerce, order management and point-of-sale (POS) capabilities. With a larger understanding of what pandemic-era shoppers want in a brick-and-mortar experience, the retailer aims to incorporate more in-store tools that bridge the gap between all channels.
All new locations will be equipped with the brand’s proprietary associate-facing OmniShop technology, which is designed to link online and offline activity for shoppers and associates alike. The technology enables sales associates to access customer preferences and additional insights via custom handheld POS systems, enabling them to analyze in-store shopping behavior, make necessary adjustments and even apply real-time feedback to the brand’s overall operations.
A select but undisclosed number of stores will introduce the Fabletics “Legging Finder” interactive tool. On touchscreens in stores, shoppers can answer a quiz to learn which Fabletics legging styles best suit their needs and preferences.
Additional large video installations and touchscreen technology will be included throughout some of the new stores as well, where members can view Fabletics products on real people to get an idea of both fit and functionality. This feature is currently being positioned as an interactive tool, where customers and brand ambassadors will soon be able to post their own photos and connect with the Fabletics community through social media.
“Our members have missed the in-store experience and we’ve found they are eager to return,” Goldenberg said. “Personalized experiences that make in-store worth the visit are more important than ever and that’s exactly what we’re bringing to new communities this year.”
New stores slated to open in 2021 include locations in: Durham, N.C.; The Woodlands, Texas; Birmingham, Ala.; Bethesda, Md.; Troy, Mich.; Leawood, Kan.; Roseville, Va., Tyson’s Corner, Va.; Lone Tree, Colo.; Portland, Ore.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; Los Cerritos, Calif.; Newport Beach, Calif.; Burlington, Mass.; Fort Worth, Texas.; West Des Moines, Iowa; and Richmond, Va.
All new locations will also include connected fitness boutiques as part of the brand’s ongoing collaboration with Hydrow, the immersive at-home rowing machine. The partnership began in October 2020 with in-store Hydrow popup shops in seven Fabletics retail locations. Fabletics also is in charge of designing and producing all Hydrow apparel.
Within the stores, sales associates are also trained to offer in-store Hydrow demos to members and guests, providing insight into the workout and unique perks for Fabletics’ VIP members, such as members-only pricing on apparel and accessories and early access to new capsules.
The convergence of apparel and fitness technologies is one that is becoming more widespread to drive community and loyalty. This includes Lululemon’s $500 million acquisition of the Mirror fitness platform, which will be scaled to several hundred stores in 2021, and Nordstrom’s recent partnership with at-home fitness platform Tonal, which will open 40 mini shop-in-shops.
Fabletics expanded into the at-home fitness market with the launch of its Fabletics FIT app in February, which features hundreds of on-demand fitness classes, workouts and meditations that connect users with the company’s Los Angeles-based instructors and network of health experts.
The app curates the experience based on data, proprietary technology and predictive shopping platforms across the TechStyle Fashion Group portfolio of brands, which also include Savage X Fenty, JustFab, ShoeDazzle and Fabkids.