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How fashion retailers can get ahead with re-commerce

This is a follow on piece from our last article The 7 Biggest E-commerce Trends in 2021. Missed it? Catch up now!

Here’s some food for thought.

When it comes to one of the biggest trends shaping the future of fashion e-commerce, resale grew without the help of brands. Brands and luxury labels simply existed.

Consumer demand, economic status, and more recently, store closures have dictated the reseller market. The kind of market that made DePop, Vestiaire Collective, ThredUp and The RealReal billion-dollar players in the contemporary shopping game.

However, the second-hand market for luxury and brand-name apparel, accessories, and footwear is nothing new. Hello, Ebay, Craigslist and Gumtree. Not exactly where you’d expect to find your Prada Tessuto baguette though, right? And that’s the difference.

The channels in which these items can be sold are exponentially increasing, as are the avenues for brands to gain greater customer reach. What is new, is the number of brands and online stores following this age-old consumer behaviour, to authentically tap into modern markets.

Re-commerce is expected to grow to US$65 billion by 2024, a model which allows your customer to:

  • Invest in the clout of cult items.
  • Uphold their values by sustainably shopping.
  • Access high-quality products at a lower price.

Here’s how you can seize the moment, and make re-commerce work for your brand.

The secondary market

Partnerships with dedicated re-commerce platforms like Poshmark, Yerdle, ThredUp, Amazon Warehouse and the Out-Net allow brands to avoid Burberry-style public dead stock blunders. Instead, brands and stores can showcase their sensitivity to the environment – AKA the modern customer retention driver.

Marketplaces like The RealReal and Vestiaire Collective also lend a certified hand in maintaining the status of a brand, by ensuring authenticity and minimise the risk of counterfeiting. In today’s fast-paced, data-hacking world, simply relying on trademark rights will not do.

Additionally, according to McKinsey, platforms that support a re-commerce model can extend the average product life by 1.7 times. The rental model is assumed to extend product life by 1.8 times, based on the average number of rentals during a product’s lifetime. Similarly, garment repair and refurbishment has the potential to double the lifetime, promoting the opportunity for brand and manufacturer collaborations around ongoing customer service and up-cycling.

The in-house opportunity

To in-house or to not in-house? While many e-commerce managers would not wish to white-knuckle through the creation of another in-house e-commerce platform… there are a number of benefits to owning your resale platform.

If your warehouse stocks items that can no longer sit in your online storefront – or risk damaging your reputation – another site or robust sale section, will enable you to hold the reins when it comes to pricing, merchandising, and directly re-engaging with your customers. Plus, you’re able to use transparent messaging when it comes to pre-worn, returned, or slightly damaged pieces.

Since resale commerce sites make money by charging a commission for every sale, your own resale site can avoid losing income and dictate the time frame on how quickly you wish to clear your stock.

The circular shopping advantage

According to The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a UK-based charity that promotes the circular economy, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is sent to a landfill or incinerated every second.

Scary, indeed, but no more so than to those who have to foot the environmental bill. Consumers, and young consumers at that, want their favourite brands to be conscious of the environmental impact of their practices. A survey from First Insight found that 62 per cent of both GenZers and millennials prefer to buy from sustainable brands.

The McKinsey report states circular business models are key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions due to their ability to extend product life, enable recycling and reduce the need for new resources. Circular approaches could save around 143 million tonnes of emissions by 2030. However, beyond then, the adoption of circular business models will need to continue to grow for the industry to stay on the 1.5-degree pathway. ThredUp, for example, estimates that it has up-cycled 65 million articles in the past five years, which has saved these items from being dumped in landfills.

Reselling and re-commerce have become significant in the way brands are able to engage and grow their loyal brand community. By aligning authentically with a re-commerce model, you can enable a new way for customers to gain the luxury experience, on the grounds of sustainability and high quality. Your reputation? Bulletproof.

Re-commerce is just one of seven top e-commerce trends you need to know. Read more at

Style Arcade is a digital range planning and fashion analytics suite built by fashion retailers for fashion retailers and works with brands such as The Iconic, Surfstitch, Aje, MJ Bale, Jo Mercer, PE Nation and White Fox Boutique.

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