Threadless is a community-centered online apparel store run by skinnyCorp of Chicago, Illinois, since 2000. In line with its motto “nude no more”, Threadless provides affordable but yet quality t-shirtsto its customers. Their mode of operation is as follows - members of the threadless community submit their designs online, after which the rest of the members of the community vote on these designs and eventually the best designs would be chosen, printed and sold on the website. The winning designers are rewarded with $2,000 cash and $500 gift certificate (which can be traded in for $200 cash).Threadless holds the largest market share in the online apparel market but faces key competition from its competitors, which include Snorg tees and Busted tees. A more in depth comparison of their websites will be done later in the report.
Threadless.com is a transactional website (2nd wave), it is a site where one can purchase merchandise. Threadless.com has characteristics ofweb 2.0. There is interaction and exchange by the users and the users create the designs for the clothes.
Business Model Classification
Threadless is a partial play website. Although it conducts online transactions, there is only physical fulfillment (Threadless sells physical products such as T-shirts). This is different from pure play websites that allows the consumers to purchase digitalproducts.
Threadless has two online business models. Firstly, Threadless adopts a C2B model; it purchases designs from its consumers and reward them with monetary and other incentives. It is also a B2C online business. Threadless conducts retail transactions with its customers, selling its clothes and other merchandises.
The pricing for the products has a range of $5 up to $70, givingconsumers more choices according to their budget. On special occasions such as Christmas, Threadless also gives storewide discount to celebrate the festivities. Prices are lowered to clear outdated stock as well.
Threadless has been successful in using its website to achieve objectives such as creating a strong brand name, portraying themselves as a young and hip apparel store; providing an avenue forconsumers to purchase its merchandise directly and Threadless retains their customers through involving the consumers in an online community available on the website.
Threadless revenue model has transited from letting more people know about their brand (creating awareness) from its humble beginnings to creating a strong brand name as an online apparel store (Internet presence) to gettingvisitors to the website more involved via the design competition (generating substantial traffic) to converting the traffic to revenue. A quick transition for Threadless was especially crucial for their business as their main source of revenue is from their sales proceeds of their products.
The Threadless site aids the consumer in adding value to one’s purchasing experience. There are simple andstraightforward search options for the consumer to find the exact product that one desires (size, colour etc), this increases the speed of information gathering. The breadth of information that the buyer can access is also great as the full catalogue is on the website. The website also facilitates comparative shopping, one is also allowed to evaluate the various products based on price or any otherfactor that they deem fit. Threadless also gives an avenue for consumers to drop feedback and provides immediate feedback via the forums. As mentioned, Threadless allows consumers to purchase their merchandise directly via the website, lowering the overall transaction cost, permitting more rapid sales and ensuring more reliable and efficient transactions.