Second Amazon exec jumps to Stitch Fix
Sharon Chiarella, formerly vice president of community shopping at Amazon, will soon be the second person from the e-commerce giant to join Stitch Fix. The company said Tuesday that starting March 29 she will be its chief product officer.
Chiarella, who will report to Stitch Fix President Elizabeth Spaulding, will lead the product, design and technical teams, according to a company press release.
She was at Amazon for 13 years, where she oversaw customer reviews, deals, gifting, wish list "and other customer experience-driven innovations," per the release.
Chiarella's appointment shows that Amazon has become a handy recruiting ground for Stitch Fix. The company's Chief Financial Officer, Dan Jedda, arrived from the e-commerce giant in December. Unlike Amazon, which has made its reputation as "the everything store," Stitch Fix is a specialty retailer. But the company has had to grapple with the limits and challenges of e-commerce, especially since, also unlike Amazon, it has decided never to open stores.
At a recent meeting with BMO Capital Markets analysts, Stitch Fix executives acknowledged that e-commerce "remains a largely inefficient search-based task, with an opportunity to shift online shopping to a simplified browse-and-select scroll of few-but-hyper-curated items," according to a report of the meeting from BMO Managing Director Simeon Siegel. Logistics and fulfillment issues were also top of mind, he also said, noting that "Fulfillment by Amazon was mentioned a few times" and that Stitch Fix has previously said that it's using more drop-ship and consignment options.
Enter an executive or two from Amazon itself. In a statement, Chiarella noted that "my experience scaling accessible and radically convenient consumer shopping experiences to Stitch Fix and help drive the next chapter of growth."
That increasingly involves movement toward a more conventional e-commerce model. Stitch Fix's original innovation was its "fix" approach, where customers receive a one-time, occasional or regular delivery of boxes curated by algorithms and human stylists. The company has steadily expanded beyond that to include "direct buy," where customers browse a selection of clothing online. Data from style quizzes, past purchases and customer interactions tells Stitch Fix what those direct buyers will see — a tack used by other apparel retailers and department stores as well.