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Zalando-Owned Resale Site Sees Growth in the Nordic Market

Zalando is making moves to expand its resale subsidiary.

Zircle, which launched first in Germany in 2018 and then in Spain, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Poland in 2020, is a Zalando-run marketplace where consumers can trade in and purchase secondhand wares. On Thursday, the Berlin-based fashion and lifestyle e-commerce marketplace announced the debut of Zircle’s pre-owned fashion assortment in Sweden and Denmark.

Zalando says the move to incorporate the Nordic region will open up access to more than 100,000 fashion products across these two markets, which have demonstrated demand for resale options. A recent survey by the company showed that half of Zalando’s Swedish and Danish shoppers would consider buying pre-owned fashion items over the course of the next six months.

“Over the past two years since launching Zircle in Germany and expanding across Europe, we have gathered many learnings that helped improve the customer experience when shopping on Zircle,” Mareike Hummel, UX director of re-commerce at Zalando, said in a statement, adding that the platform strives to lend “the highest level of convenience” to the experience of shopping secondhand.

According to Hummel, each trade-in accessory or article of clothing that enters Zircle’s orbit is assessed through a two-step quality checking process—first, digital photos are uploaded by the seller, and then Zalando employees examine the products for damage and wear in person once they’re received. Zircle’s assortment includes both brands that are available on Zalando, along with others from a broader range of labels from across the globe, all palatably priced below first-market rates.

Last fall, the Zalando announced its similar Pre-owned program, which exists as a part of its e-commerce site. The vertical “gives customers access to a curated selection of quality checked items, presented with professional photographs and product details to ensure a consistent look and feel on our platform,” Torben Hansen, Zalando’s vice president of re-commerce, said at the time.

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In recent seasons, retailers have doubled down on re-commerce efforts in a bid to promote a circular economy and account for the ever-growing issue of fashion and textile waste clogging the world’s landfills. The process of reselling extends the life of unwanted fashion goods, diverting them from the trash bin and into new hands.

Meanwhile, the pandemic has prompted consumers to examine their shopping habits, both due to changes in personal finances and a renewed sensibility for conscious consumption. The Covid-19 crisis illuminated glaring issues in the fashion supply chain, especially with regard to the ethics of apparel production and the impact of waste. Shoppers are increasingly demonstrating an appetite for value-led brands that prize sustainability and human impact over fleeting fast-fashion trends, and retail is buying in with new programs to support recycling, upcycling, and resale.

“Zircle will support our target of extending the life of 50 million fashion items by 2023 by enabling our customers to give them a new life quickly and effortlessly,” said Laura Coppen, head of circularity at Zalando. In line with the company’s objective to minimize waste and keep materials in use, Zircle will pilot a plastic-free packaging program that relies instead on recycled paper. According to Coppen, Zalando is targeting the elimination of single-use plastics by 2023.