Shein, an ultra-fast-fashion brand, is one of the most downloaded shopping apps in the United States. With an estimated value of USD100bn in 2022, Shein has caught the attention of the fashion industry as its huge range of low-priced and ever-changing fashion appeal to young consumers in their teens and twenties.
Headquartered in China, Shein’s success is built on its proprietary supply chain management system and China’s garment production ecosystem to target overseas markets outside China. Shein mainly relies on digital marketing, collaborating with celebrities and influencers to market its products on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Despite keeping a low profile, Shein has found itself at the center of a series of controversies. Among others, Shein has been accused of low quality, copyright infringement, lack of supply chain transparency, encouraging a culture of excessive consumption, and indifference to environmental costs.
This case gives an opportunity for students to discuss and explore what factors have contributed to the success of Shein, what challenges Shein is facing and what strategies Shein can adopt to develop a sustainable business. After studying this case, students will know how to identify and develop a company’s core competences and develop a sustainable business.
1. To identify a firm’s core competence and understand how a firm builds it.
2. To understand the network effects of a platform business model.
3. To assess the sustainability of a firm’s competitive advantage and identify the threats to a firm’s business sustainability in the long run.
4. To analyze the benefits and risks of cross-border supply chain management.