The internet has created a new world for online businesses. A shopper can find anything imaginable with the click of a mouse. Along with the new availability comes a new set of rules. Companies today must recognize the importance of leveraging the crowd if they hope to be successful. Gone are the days when certain branding or marketing ensured revenue. Shoppers today are interested in one thing and that is reviews. Customers are becoming more and more savvy about researching products and making decisions based on information from fellow shoppers.
One company that has capitalized on this trend from the beginning is Fabletics. Three people, Adam Goldberg, Don Ressler and Kate Hudson had a vision about revamping the activewear industry. The choices for work out gear used to be limited to gray or black structured, functional wear. Also, if a customer wanted a quality product, it was very expensive. Fabletics is seeking to change all of that. Their goal is to produce quality, fashionable activewear at an affordable price. One way they have met this goal is by being in constant communication with their customers and using feedback to tweak certain products.
The premise of Fabletics is that of a customer-centered business. They have monthly memberships available for a fee that gives the member definite perks. Members receive customized fashion choices based on a questionnaire they complete. This business model is working for Fabletics because they have grown 200% since they started in 2013. Hudson, who is an actress and active mom, encouraged open communication with customers from the start. Fabletics also carefully monitors reviews from customers and responds. They understand that the new business world is driven by leveraging the crowd.
Shoppers today say that they check reviews before purchase and 84% state that they trust feedback from real customers more than a personal recommendation from someone they know. Essentially, the power has shifted from the brand to the buyer. Smart customers use crowdsourcing to make purchasing decisions. Gone are the days when businesses told customers who they are because now, actual purchasers are telling everyone who the business really is.
As customers become more and more vocal, companies like Fabletics are sure to continue to thrive. Hudson says that being so customer focused keeps the business accountable and even transparent as they respond to criticisms or positives. She is astounded that she came from starring in movies like, “Almost Famous, “ to owning and operating a business. Hudson’s fans know that she will not support or promote something that she doesn’t believe in. She is the ideal spokesperson for Fabletics because her style is so open and genuine. She herself works out and lives a very active lifestyle.
As the internet becomes more and more prevalent in the world of business, companies will have to adjust their marketing strategies to include the reality of real-time reviews from real people. There is a spotlight now on the power of the crowd and its opinions that companies must embrace and respect.