Luxury retailers have long held reservations about online resale platforms, with brands often very conscious of controling the physical environment in which their goods are sold in order to avoid devaluing the brand. But with the unprecedented success of resale sites such as The RealReal, the first ever luxury reseller website to file for an intial public offering (June 2019), should retailers be viewing the resale industry as a collaborative opportunity instead?
Luxury retailers should perhaps consider the positive commercial impact of either teaming up with such successful resale sites or for creating a white-label platform of their own. Revenue sharing agreements could be one way in which retailers can control both customer engagement with their brand whilst sharing in the monetary gain of successfully resold items. There is potentially a brand new customer base waiting to be discovered by luxury brands, for example, "investment customers" who are typically young consumers not yet financially able to buy full-priced versions of products, but still have the long-term potential of brand loyalty through initial purchases of such second-hand item. Resale sites also offer a wealth of customer data with useful insights on how customers like to shop and most popular products or most re-stocked products.
While Stella McCartney remains the only label engaging in this sort of setup, resale service providers like Yerdle are hoping that they can convince brands to skip the resale platform altogether and pursue their own direct resale services online. Yerdle provides a backend system for brands to offer resale services at their own websites and stores. It handles the IT, logistics and all other operations for a brand to accept gently worn items, offer sellers store credit and list the items online. Yerdle currently works companies including Eileen Fisher, Patagonia and menswear brand Taylor Stitch, and will unveil partnerships with more contemporary fashion brands this year, according to CEO Andy Ruben.