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These Resale Players Helps Brands Squeeze Revenue Out of Returns

Two technology-enabled platforms in logistics and re-commerce have formed an unlikely duo that has gotten one sustainable fashion brand’s resale channel off the ground and is aiming to empower the future of the circular economy.

Amour Vert, a California-based fashion company that calls itself the “original sustainable fashion brand,” furthered its green ambitions with the debut of its ReAmour resale program late last year.

But ReAmour was made possible through a partnership between resale-as-a-service platform Recurate and logistics-as-a-service platform Fillogic—two technology companies that teamed up to execute the end-to-end resale experience.

“For us, it was really important to be able to close the loop on the lifecycle of our products, make sure the clothing is very well made and make sure it doesn’t end up in a landfill,” said Taylor Hansen, vice president of global marketing and e-commerce at Amour Vert. Hansen also pointed out that since the Covid-19 pandemic, her team noticed changing customer purchasing habits, which further necessitated the resale program. “We made the assumption that she likely had a substantial amount of clothing in her closet, even from our brand, that probably no longer fit her life,” she said

Recurate, which provides the technology that powers the resale sites for Steve Madden, Outerknown and Mara Hoffman among others, integrates its own software directly into the front end of the brand’s website without interrupting the consumer experience. This gives a brand like Amour Vert more autonomy in selling “pre-loved” products on its own site instead of on a third-party platform like ThredUp or The RealReal.

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Although ReAmour was initially a peer-to-peer resale marketplace, Amour Vert told the Recurate team that it had a buildup of returned products in its warehouse that it couldn’t put back into inventory.

Cynthia Power, vice president of brand success, Recurate, said that Amour Vert asked if it could sell those products on ReAmour.

“It became clear after they had sent us a couple of shipments that there’s actually a much bigger opportunity here,” Power told Sourcing Journal. “They send the shipments to us every month. That way we get it on their resale platform and really monetize that product that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to sell or in many cases, get rid of. There isn’t really a market for this stuff. But I think we’re really creating a market for it.”

The resale experiment has paid dividends for Amour Vert. In just one month, the number of items on the resale site increased 69 percent compared to their average, while sales jumped 72 percent.

Recurate’s technology facilitates several branded resale models, including peer-to-peer transactions where customers can list products from their order history, take-back programs online and in-store, charity auctions and sample sales.

On the other hand, Fillogic runs a series of hubs throughout U.S. shopping centers and malls that offer reverse logistics and returns capabilities, as well as distribution for brands using Recurate’s resale platform.

Fillogic inspects items prepped to be sold on the resale site to ensure it meets the brand’s quality standards, captures photos, and integrates with Recurate to list the item on the brand’s e-commerce site.

On the back end, the company’s distribution model is designed to better fulfill high-demand products and expedite shipping capabilities for its partner brands by connecting them to a delivery partner network of local parcel carriers. This distribution model enables Fillogic to also contribute to a more quality-controlled circular economy by lowering its lower carbon footprint and keeping more product out of landfills.

In essence, the partnership illustrates a low-effort and cost-effective way for brands to list, sell and fulfill any non-new products, including returns. By integrating the technologies, the companies not only develop a sustainability-forward resale solution, but can supplement those channels with localized logistics thanks to lower transportation and shipping costs.

And with Recurate and Fillogic working in lockstep, the companies are striving to improve the handling of single-SKU fulfillment, which most retailers tend to stay away from because of the associated high costs.

“Most retailers don’t even try,” Bill Thayer, Fillogic co-founder and CEO, told Sourcing Journal. “When you look at a lot of larger retailers, if they have an item, and there’s just one of them and it’s being loaded on a warehouse pick face—they’ll liquidate it just because it was taking up space of what could be 30 or 40 items. I think the major issue is the reverse logistics process in general is all about bulk. How much product can you get together before consolidating your location.”

In that vein, the Recurate-Fillogic partnership is designed to make the reverse logistics process and single-SKU fulfillment processes less costly, and ultimately less wasteful, across both the middle and last mile.

Power said that Recurate partner brands tend to see anywhere between 25 to 60 percent new buyers and sellers that hadn’t previously shopped at the brand. These businesses also reactive 25 percent to 50 percent of their lapsed customers.

These numbers were important to Amour Vert, especially as fewer shoppers bought from the brand coming out of the pandemic due to its focus on selling work wear or occasion wear.

“When people weren’t going to work and going out for events, there were customers that we lost,” Hansen said. “In addition to giving the customers that stayed with us an outlet to repurpose the clothing that they had purchased that no longer fit their lifestyle needs, we also wanted to try to reengage a customer who maybe had just forgotten about us during the pandemic.”

Beyond Amour Vert, Recurate and Fillogic are currently in conversations with more brands to scale their joint services. Adam Siegel, co-founder and CEO of Recurate, noted that there will always be partnership potential as long as brands need to free up warehouse space.

“If you look in any brand’s warehouse, you’ll find that there’s often returned items in the back of the building in a pile somewhere maybe collecting dust. It’s just not generating any value for the brands,” Siegel said.