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Shein is aiming to become America’s newest everything store

by | May 6, 2024 | E-commerce News

Shein has been courting brands like Colgate-Palmolive, Hasbro, Suntory Beverage & Food, and Bella Aurora in an attempt to sell more household names on its platform.

The company, which is known for selling its own cheap clothing and accessories, is moving into other categories like beauty and household items to better compete with Amazon on its turf. So far Shein has given brands and retailers access to its platform in nine European countries, United States, Brazil and Mexico.

Shein says that the inspiration for adding new categories is that customers were already searching for those types of products and brands across its platform. 

Christina Fontana, senior director of brand operations, said, “Everybody associates Shein with fashion, but we are doing all verticals. Our consumers want brands, [so] if that's what they're looking for, that's what we're going to give them.”

Shein has the largest fast-fashion market share in the US. Its annual profit doubled to $2B in 2023 from the year before, and the company is currently eyeing an IPO at a $90B valuation. A crucial element to its success is that Shein is in control of its entire supply chain. 

Is it wise for Shein to enter into “everything store” territory and put its reputation at the mercy of other manufacturers? Does Shein clothing lose a bit of its cool factor being sold next to Colgate Optic White toothpaste?

Harvard Business School professor John Deighteon told Fortune that Shein's strategy of incorporating more brands names into its platform will help the company dodge increased attention over allegations of copyright infringement and the proliferation of counterfeit product listings. If the site is flooded with thousands of listings from familiar and trusted brands, he feels that Shein would essentially be telling regulatory bodies that there's nothing to see here.

Other experts feel that given Shein's massive logistics network, it's a natural progression to enter into new verticals. Barkley professor Steve Tadelis said, “I really think this is a smart business decision of saying, ‘We have an amazing logistics network, let's start expanding it into other areas where we could procure cheap products.”

In other Shein news…. Customers can now return Shein purchases at Forever 21's more than 300 US stores. The company is executing the returns program using the buy-online-return-in-store solution from Happy Returns, which was acquired by UPS at the end of last year. In August 2023, Shein acquired a one-third interest in SPARC Group, which operates Forever 21, so it was expected that we'd begin to see a deeper relationship between the two companies this year.