Welcome to The Backroom, a window into what goes on behind the scenes as the Retail Dive team covers the stories and trends reshaping retail. You can check out all our podcast episodes (past and present) here and listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, iHeartRadio and Spotify.
When Stitch Fix was founded a decade ago, the tech-based disruption of retail seemed like a sure path to a bright future and, especially for investors, a lucrative bet. Founded by Harvard Business School student Katrina Lake, the online pure-player was differentiated by its algorithm-generated style recommendations — for a fee, subscribers take a quiz about their clothing preferences, needs and wants, the bot surfaces suggestions and human stylists fill a box with five items, which customers may or may not buy.
A few years from its 2017 IPO, however, the apparel e-retailer has shaken things up. Last month, on the same day that Lake stepped down as CEO, the company eliminated much of the flexibility for its thousands of remote stylists, then apologized after a backlash. Perhaps more telling for its model, it rebranded — and is now emphasizing — the fairly new option to shop its site directly. On this episode of The Backroom, Retail Dive Senior Reporters Ben Unglesbee and Daphne Howland take a look at this pivot to traditional e-commerce and how its customer experience now compares to that of other apparel retailers.
- Stitch Fix COO to stylists: 'We can and must do better'
- Customers love them. Investors love them. But which online players can survive in the long run?
- Is Stitch Fix disrupting retail? Or is it the other way around?
- Stepping closer to conventional e-commerce, Stitch Fix touts 'Freestyle'
- Stitch Fix mutes expectations as it dives into traditional e-commerce
Editor's note: This show was produced and edited by Caroline Jansen.