Plus-size women’s clothing retail market is likely to cross %50 billion by 2024 from the current $20 billion, while hot 100 retailers such as Eloquii, Dia&Co, Ashley Stewart, Stitch Fix and Adore Me are trying to address the plus-size women’s apparel market in different ways, quoting Acena Retail Group, a digitialcommerce360.com report. Online retailers, both new and old took note of that in 2017 in an effort to grab a piece of the market.
The report starts analyzing with the new. Eloquii Design Inc. and Dia&Co featured retailers in Internet Retailer’s latest hot 100 list, each launched in 2014 as web-only retailers that exclusively sell plus-sized women’s apparel. For Dia&Co founder Nadia Boujarwah, she founded the website to offer a solution to an issue she had faced when shopping for clothes, says the report.
Boujarwah had always loved fashion but struggled to find clothes that fit her body and worked with her personal style, she wrote in Dia.com. “I’ve been everything from a size 12 to a size 22 and I couldn’t help but notice, no matter my size, that there was nothing for me.”
For instance, Dia&Co runs a subscription-based model, in which a shopper fills out a questionnaire on Dia.com, and a stylist sends her selections she can try on at home. The shopper keeps what she likes and sends the rest back. Eloquii, No. 546 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 1000 rankings, is a plus-size apparel manufacturer and online retailer. The company has raised $21 million, with the most recent round of $15 million in funding in 2016.
Eloquii CEO Mariah Chase said company sales increased by 165% in 2015, declining to provide a sales figure. Internet Retailer estimates the company’s revenue crossed $30 million in 2017, added the report. The retailer is using video to forge relationships with shoppers.
“Videos enable us to explain to prospective customers who we are,” says Kelly Goldston, vice president of marketing. “Shoppers want to like the people they’re buying from.” The retailer features one of its customers each month, highlighting her sense of style. Earlier this year, it launched a video series in conjunction with publicist and social media influencer Katie Sturino called Closet Confidential, wherein Sturino helps shoppers upgrade their wardrobes.
On the other hand, veteran plus-size apparel retail chain Ashley Stewart is focusing on omnichannel initiatives to drive growth. The retailer is investing in online and mobile marketing designed to connect online shoppers with its 89 stores. For instance, Ashley’s loyalty program, Diva Dollars, gives shoppers credits they can use in its stores and online. And the retailer’s website identifies customers who are within ten miles of a store and shows them a pop-up window promoting events coming up at the local Ashley Stewart store.
A success saga of the past year has been sending text messages to customers about four-hour flash sales at stores. While the retailer also tried texting to promote sales on its web and mobile sites, Julie Daly, vice president of digital commerce, says customers respond in bigger numbers to messages that promote sales at its stores. Lots of customers appreciate those text alerts: 418,000 have opted in to receive them, Daly says. What is more, online-only retailers such as Adore Me (No. 322), Nike Inc. (No. 37) and Stitch Fix (No. 134) launched plus-sized apparel lines for each of their businesses in 2017, the report concluded.
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