In its early days the Covid crisis may have dampened consumers’ drive to overhaul their wardrobes, but as the months have drawn on, shopping has come to serve as a much-needed pick-me-up.
The resale market, which was blossoming prior to the pandemic, has now kicked into overdrive. Denim stalwart Levi’s launched its own secondhand vertical, while Rent the Runway teamed with online marketplace ThredUp to sell its retired rentals. Now, luxury handbag and accessories site Rebag has unveiled a new tool to make buying and reselling easier for consumers stuck shopping through their screens for the foreseeable future.
On Wednesday, the New York-based resale platform launched Clair AI, which allows shoppers and sellers to instantly discover the make, model and market value of both popular and niche handbag styles across 50 brands using just one photo using an iPhone or Android smartphone. “To some extent, Clair AI feels like a Shazam for handbags,” Rebag founder and CEO Charles Gorra told Sourcing Journal, referencing the 22-year-old app that identifies a song and artist by listening to a short snippet of music.
Clair, which stands for Comprehensive Luxury Appraisal Index for Resale, is Rebag’s proprietary database containing 15,000 identification codes for high-value handbags. “Our new image recognition technology, Clair AI, is an additional layer to the Clair experience, wherein the user doesn’t need to know the brand or style name of the bag,” Gorra said. “They can simply scan or upload a single, front-facing image and Clair AI will identify and price the bag in seconds.”
What’s more, the image recognition technology isn’t just useful for sellers—it’s a great tool for buyers, too, Gorra said. Would-be consumers can evaluate the resale value of a bag before they buy it in stores or online, or “ID a mystery bag they found while scrolling through social media or while watching television” using the technology. According to Rebag, the company’s software is powered by machine learning technology fed by six years’ worth of data and millions of image references.
Characterizing the Clair database as the Kelley Blue Book of handbags, Gorra said that sellers are asked to self-grade the condition of their wares to receive an offer from Rebag. “Once we receive the item in-house we will review the condition and in case of condition changes we will requote the user,” he said. “Historically, we have noticed with our current Clair system that users are actually very transparent and accurate with their self-reported condition.”
After receiving and accepting their offer, the company sends each seller a free shipping label, releasing payment within two to three days of receiving the items. Sellers can also choose to drop off their bags at one of Rebag’s seven store locations in New York City, Los Angeles or Miami for instant payment.
While Rebag recently introduced new accessories categories to its site, including jewelry, watches, belts and sunglasses, Gorra said that Clair AI will be reserved for handbags due to the wealth of category-specific data the company has accumulated since 2014.
“Tech innovations have been at the forefront of our business since Rebag was founded,” Gorra said. “Our goal is to bring radical transparency to the luxury resale market, as well as standardize it so that the buying and selling experience can be simple and pain-free.”
Since the coronavirus gripped the nation in March, Gorra said the company has been “quick to meet our customers where they were—and for the most part, still are.” Shopping and selling from home via mobile devices, tablets and computers has become the norm, and the company has pushed digital campaigns for closet clean-outs and free UPS pickups to make these functions contactless.
“The addition of Clair AI goes hand in hand with the concept of making it easy to sell,” Gorra said. “Not only is it simple to use, but there is instant gratification as sellers can scan their bags and get prices for them in seconds.”