“If you’ve ever scrolled on eBay there are pictures of things on beds, in bathrooms, on toilets. I’ve seen it all! And it really didn’t give a brand experience,” said Karin Dillie during a panel discussion on circular fashion sponsored by commerce platform Shopify in New York last week.
Dillie, the vice president of partnerships at Recurate, a two-year-old service that allows brands and retailers to launch fully integrated resale channels on their own Shopify-powered stores, was joined by Heather Mee, chief marketing officer at Delta Galil Premium Brands, the parent company of 7 for All Mankind (7FAM).
Thanks to the company’s recent work with Recurate, 7FAM’s resale section on its website will be fully migrated to Shopify in January 2023. Emphasizing resale is part of the label’s three-pillared sustainability plan of “Materials, Manufacturing and Mankind” that stresses environmentally friendliness and fair labor practices, Mee said. “The ideal state and where we’re heading towards finding is an innovative approach where you can buy new 7 for All Mankind with vintage 7 for All Mankind all in the same cart experience,” she added.
She and Dillie mostly discussed the growing importance of brands taking charge of how their secondhand items are presented online and how it is possible for them to retain a clear and consistent on-brand message, whether the preloved items are being sold directly by them or peer to peer.
Recurate’s model, for instance, allows resellers to pull product information from their order history to use in their listing. With a few clicks the listing will be directly integrated onto the brand’s site with the original image, description and size, followed by images of the used item, which will also be high quality and aesthetically consistent. Nothing will be posted unless it is approved by the brand first and outside sellers will receive a generous cut of the sale.
Dillie added that in the time that Recurate has offered such a model there have been less than 0.5 percent complaints about the condition of used product as portrayed in the photos and product description.
She and Mee also shared several other interesting data points.
Dilllie, who believes the resale boom has been triggered in part by Covid-prompted closet cleaning and the popularity of Marie Kondo, said that a Recurate study showed that 15 percent who buy a resold item from a brand’s website also purchase a new item. She even cited an IRL takeback program that happened in California the weekend before where customers were given brand credit for turned-in merchandise. “[The customer] got $40 in credit and bought a new $600 bag,” she said.
Some brands have seen upsell 2.5 times above what they put in, she said. “So if [consumers] get a $100 credit they spend $250.”
She also noted that resellers and buyers are often younger customers and that they use the lower cost of the items as an entryway to brand loyalty.
The credit for used items has been a huge success for 7FAM, added Mee. She noted that 90 percent of the customers who have received gift cards in exchange for their old 7FAM jeans have redeemed them for new product and that the program has been a great way to bring back the so-called “lapsed customers” who have not made a purchase in a while.
There are also unseen promotional benefits of being in the secondhand market from the cost-free mentions on social media from both buyers and sellers, she noted. “There are people who are promoting your brand for you because they are selling product and they are bringing in their friends so you have more of that entry-level customer who is coming in,” Mee said. “And instead of having to give them a cheaper product from your main line you are able to offer them a [still high-quality] brand experience at a lower price point.”
In the end, two panelists agreed on the talk’s concluding point: Secondhand does not cannibalize but rather usually boosts traditional sales.