On Trend: Six retailers leveraging the children’s subscription box craze
Subscription boxes are all the rage across women’s apparel, beauty and pet supplies — and, more recently, children’s clothing.
Differentiating a brand in the subscription segment isn’t mere child’s play. Here are six retailers — two upstarts and four familiar names — that have found a way to stand out:
• BabyGap. The specialty retailer is building momentum in its subscription box offerings. It launched its first option, The BabyGap Outfit Box, last fall. Each box is filled with up to with six Baby Gap mix-and-match pieces, curated for children between newborn and 3T. Boxes cost $70. Gap expanded its offering last spring with its Bedtime Box, which features three sleep sets in sizes ranging between 6 months to 5T. The box is offered every three months.
• Old Navy. Building off of its BabyGap offering, Gap Inc. launched the Old Navy Superbox, a quarterly subscription that features apparel for kids ages 5 through 12. The boxes, which are filled with six mix-and-match items worth more than $100, cost $59.99 each.
• Target. The discounter is grabbing attention with its Cat & Jack Outfit Box, which followed its Baby Box. The box features between six and seven items from its popular children’s line, including bodysuits, leggings, rompers and an additional gift. The assortment is curated by Target’s designers, and any item can be returned online or in stores. Boxes are available for children between newborn and 24 months. Each box is $40, and comes out seasonally.
• Kidbox. The clothing-in-box company dresses boys and girls, from infant to size 14, drawing from some 100 brands. Kidbox is also prepping to debut its private label line, and will add at least one private label piece to each seasonal box, starting with this year’s back-to-school offering. Kidbox donates a new, tagged item from its previous season’s inventory to a child in need.
• Kidpik. Targeting girls aged 3-12, Kidpik delivers a personalized box containing six items tailored to an individual girl’s taste and preset spending range. Customers keep the items they like and return the rest for free. Customers that keep the entire box receive a 30% discount. The final cost ranges between $75-$100 per box, after discount. If a customer has any items to be returned, they can request items be donated to the Good Plus Foundation, a charity founded by Jessica Seinfeld that makes donations to families in need.
• Amazon. Instead of focusing on children’s apparel, the online retailer launched its Prime Book Box program, a subscription box of board books for children under 2 years old, or hardcover books for readers between 3 and 12 years old. Each delivery contains two hardcover books or four board books, depending on the child’s age. The program, which is invitation-only for Prime members in the United States, is $22.99 plus tax, and all boxes ship free. Books are sold for 35% off of merchandise list prices.
• FabKids. From athleisure retailer Fabletics, FabKids mimics its parent’s offerings with a mix of staples like leggings and tees and on-trend fashion items for boys and girls ages 2 to 14. The customer starts by taking a style quiz and then, each month, FabKids will send merchandise picks directly to her or his inbox. Customers select the pieces they want — or skip the month — giving them control over what’s in the box.
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Guess, Alibaba team up for ‘smart store’ pilot
Fashion retailer Guess and Alibaba are raising the bar, using artificial intelligence to personalize the in-store shopping experience.
On July 5, Alibaba launched “FashionAI,” a pilot pop-up that showcases Guess apparel using Internet of Things technology. The store, at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, is only open through July 7.
FashionAI features smart mirrors, which display product information on a nearby screen as shoppers touch or pick up an RFID-labeled garment. It also makes product recommendations and highlights where the suggested items can be found in the store.
The mirror also streamlines visits to the fitting room. Consumers use the smart mirror to add items to their virtual shopping cart, or update sizes or colors. Store associates are alerted to requests, and drop off the selected garments in a fitting room.
RFID, gyro-sensors and Bluetooth low-energy chips also capture all product movement, and track the most popular merchandise colors, styles and attributes, according to Alibaba.
Guess designed the pilot to evaluate how the technology can enhance the in-store customer experience and inform business decisions, such as product selection, inventory management, and dressing mannequins in window displays.
“It’s important that we continuously invest in new technology and platforms. This entire [concept store] project came together in just five months, thanks to a strong partnership between our two companies,” said José Blanco, CEO of the Greater China market at Guess.
“It is very important to [combine] the insight from fashion experience and insight from technology,” he added. “This is what has really reinforced our partnership with Alibaba since day one — both sides see this as important. The technology itself is good, but you have to learn from expertise and experience, and this is what we are bringing at the moment.”
Guess said plans to add FashionAI technology to stores. Stores on mainland China and Hong Kong will be the first to use the technology, according to Blanco.
Meanwhile, Alibaba plans to leverage FashionAI’s recommendation capabilities in its new “virtual wardrobe” feature on its mobile Taobao app. The functionality will allow shoppers to view clothes they’ve tried on in-store, as well as recommendations across brands, including items sold by other merchants on Alibaba’s shopping sites, Taobao and Tmall, the company reported.
This is not Guess’ first endeavor with Alibaba. The fashion retailer established a partnership with Alibaba in 2013, when it launched its brand in Tmall e-marketplace. Since teaming up, Guess has experienced “overall strong performance and growth in the Asia Pacific region,” according to the company.
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