REI is leveling up its pre-owned outdoor gear offering through a pair of resale partnerships with performance lifestyle brands Cotopaxi and Nemo Equipment.
The outdoor retailer’s Used Gear site is powered by Trove’s re-commerce platform, which will be leveraged to launch trade-in programs for Cotopaxi’s assortment of men’s and women’s outdoor apparel and accessories and Nemo’s camping gear, like tents, sleeping bags and camping chairs, REI said in a statement. The arrangement will allow the two brands to quickly enter the resale market and make gently used products available to REI shoppers through the Used Gear site.
According to REI, the platform has helped prolong the lifecycle of products from a number of its brand partners. To sell their used goods on the platform, consumers much search for the products in the Used Goods trade-in catalog to make sure they’re being accepted. REI then emails them a shipping label, and the items are sent to Trove, which assesses each item, grades its condition and cleans and repairs it before photographing and uploading it to the Used Gear site. Sellers are compensated with a gift card with credit to be used toward future purchases.
In the interest of giving consumers more options, REI is now allowing them to choose whether to trade in their goods to the retailer directly, or go through Cotopaxi or Nemo’s channels. While the trade-in value remains the same—and the back-end handling of the goods is facilitated by Trove no matter what—shoppers can choose to receive an REI, Cotopaxi or Nemo gift card in exchange for their used goods.
“Cotopaxi has always strived to design in ways that reduce waste and contribute to sustainable development,” Davis Smith, the brand’s CEO and founder, said. “Our partnership with Trove and REI will help us to further that commitment, allowing our gear to prove its durability, reenter the marketplace and reduce its impact on the planet.”
Cam Brensinger, Nemo’s chief executive and founder, echoed the sentiment, adding that the small company values the opportunity “to collaborate and accelerate change” through the established program. “To hit the outdoor industry’s 2030 climate goals, we have to find new ways of doing business,” he added. “With this re-commerce pilot, we’re one step closer to a truly circular economy.”
Ken Voeller, REI’s director of circular economy, added that the collaboration between the three brands and Trove will give shoppers a larger selection of goods while keeping pieces in use as long as possible.
The pandemic has underscored a growing consumer appetite for a more sustainable, and circular, retail economy, evidenced by Trove’s growing roster of mainstream retail partnerships. CEO Andy Ruben noted that “It’s more important than ever for brands to stay close to their customers, and offering them new, relevant ways to engage through trade-in will become standard for leading brands.”
The firm, which manages resale programs for brands like Patagonia, Eileen Fisher and Arc’teryx helped heritage American denim brand Levi’s launch its SecondHand program in October. In February, Trove appointed Google veteran Gayle Tait to the role of chief operating officer, following a strong finish to the fiscal year.
During the second half of 2020, the company saw more than 180-percent year-over-year sales growth. Trove says its roster of re-commerce partners are each responsible for eliminating 11,000 pounds of waste on average annually.