Emerging Technology Trends in Retail and Recommerce

Once novel technologies, such as e-commerce platforms, mobile apps, and targeted advertising, profoundly reshaped the direct-to-consumer retail industry. Early adopters of these technologies saw exponential growth compared to other brands jumping into the fray later in the game.

Today, computer vision technology, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), blockchain solutions, and AI-driven dynamic pricing are on the verge of reshaping the retail experience yet again.

Computer Vision Technology

Advancements in computer vision and machine learning are likely to transform one of the biggest challenges facing retailers: how to identify incoming items. Currently, computer vision is leveraged as a merchandising tool to aid in the identification of similar items. Human intervention is still required though because often this technology can incorrectly categorize an item.

Greg Ferris, Trove’s Chief Product, and Engineering Officer predicts that sometime in the next year, new and compelling computer vision technology will advance beyond grouping products together for merchandising. The predicted solutions will enable brands to narrow a product down to a smaller, more specific set of items that would only require a human a few seconds to categorize.

Ferris’ believes new computer vision technology will transcend back-of-house merchandising programs. This technology will be rolled out to aid in branded recommerce solutions. Brands can leverage advanced computer vision tools with in-store kiosks and via mobile apps, to offer even more accurate and real-time information regarding an item’s trade-in value. 

Several of Trove’s brand partners currently use computer vision technology, powered by Trove, to ease the sometimes-cumbersome task of categorizing apparel that is no longer carried, and thus, lacks a match to a catalog item. At lululemon, computer vision brings together the hundreds of off-catalog pre-worn tank tops they receive and helps sell them under a single SKU on their branded resale marketplace, lululemon Like New.

Beyond categorization, Trove may one day offer a computer vision solution that takes better measurements of pre-worn items, which, thanks to machine learning, is likely to grow more accurate over time. According to Ferris, much of this work is now done manually to account for normal wear and tear and tailoring. But with new computer vision technology, it will be possible to leverage a photograph of a pre-worn item to know its true inseam and waist size. 

Dynamic Pricing Using AI Algorithms

Improved AI-driven dynamic pricing solutions for retailers will offer retailers new solutions to streamline their inventory control processes and pricing strategies in the near term. With dynamic pricing, premium brands will be able to adjust, on a constant basis, the price of their products based on supply and demand levels, overall market trends, and various website and customer metrics, among other factors. 

While Amazon is perhaps the best-known retailer to deploy dynamic pricing, a report by digital commerce consulting firm Vaimo noted that over 20% of companies currently leverage dynamic pricing in their ecosystems, with another 15% planning to do so in the near term. 

Apparel companies will also be able to leverage new dynamic pricing solutions in enticing ways to meet customer preferences. For example, if a retailer is experiencing a shortage of a particular article of clothing that is in high demand, dynamic pricing tools Trove is developing will be able to increase the trade-in value for particular sizes and colors that are missing from inventory. 

In turn, Ferris noted that our partners should expect our offerings to soon provide data for setting a resale price. When deployed, dynamic pricing can help our brand partners to determine an item’s price based on inventory-related factors and other data points, such as website traffic associated with certain styles.

NFTs & Blockchain Technology for Apparel 

Exciting new retail applications of blockchain technology and non-fungible tokens are also on the horizon. In fact, several leading retailers have already shown the power of these technologies to create value for their brands.

A collaboration between celebrated fashion powerhouse Balmain and Mattel’s beloved Barbie brand not only offered ready-to-wear apparel, it also included three NFT avatars featuring Ken and Barbie. The success of these and similar NFT experiments will create new value streams for fashion brands and retailers, as they’ll be able to extend offerings into the metaverse. In particular, brands could leverage NFTs to provide exclusive access to deals or pre-sale events, which helps to increase brand loyalty in the metaverse and the physical world.

Nike has already experienced success by creating products solely for the metaverse. The shoe company developed and sold NFT sneakers, known as CryptoKicks, exclusively for sale on a metaverse platform. Some of the collection’s sneakers fetched over $100,000 on OpenSean, an online marketplace, CBS News reported. According to Ferris, Nike’s experiment demonstrates that brands can leverage NFTs to build and enhance brand loyalty in distinct digital communities. 

These nascent uses of NFT by leading apparel brands underscore the potential for blockchain technologies to revolutionize branded resale. As Ferris reasoned, that is because NFTs, which run on blockchain technology, are akin to a CARFAX. Thus, when embedded into products, NFTs can enhance trust in a brand’s recommerce channel as customers will be able to authenticate an item’s origin and ownership history. These NFTs essentially form a new kind of digital receipt, which may prove especially enticing to retailers selling luxury brands that are eager to show that they are offering authentic products.

Customer Demand & Adoption

While these new technologies will enhance the branded recommerce ecosystem over the long term, customers may need time to adjust to some of the changes brought about by these innovations, especially in regard to embedding NFTs into apparel.

With broader adoption of blockchain and NFT technology by brands and retailers, customers are likely to grow more accustomed to demanding detailed digital ownership records and will come to expect them within the next five years. 

In fact, despite its growing dominance today, the early e-commerce experience may provide lessons for retailers about what to expect regarding NFTs and other emerging technologies. Initial skepticism about the value of e-commerce eventually dissipated as more customers grew accustomed to transacting online and via mobile apps.

We believe that we are about to arrive at an adoption tipping point for these technologies, especially as retailers and customers alike increasingly find value in them. 

On the retailer side, our brand partners will come to rely on blockchain and NFT technologies to verify items upon trade-in rather than cumbersome manual inspections to guarantee authenticity.

We also expect retailers to garner savings through computer vision and dynamic pricing, as these technologies will streamline the inspection and inventory processes. Not only will retailers find these technologies useful, but customers will also enjoy the added convenience provided by computer vision’s ability to offer better sizing information and the ability to sell pre-worn items at a high level if demand is sufficiently high.

Perhaps most importantly, all the technologies enable a wider swath of stakeholders to embrace a circular economy ethos and support other societal values customers increasingly demand.

Technology is the Future of Resale

We believe these leading-edge technologies, with their ability to create value and streamline operations, will drive the widespread adoption of branded resale, especially in the luxury, sneaker, and rare-item categories. Trove, already a leader in scaling resale, is excited to continue investing in and offering these technologies to create an unparalleled Recommerce Operating System for brands looking to create their own resale space.   

Curious about opening your own branded resale marketplace? Speak to a Trove representative today to book your free demo.

Brands with Resale or Buyback Programs

2022 has been an exciting year of growth for branded resale. Across the retail industry, brands—such as Allbirds, REI, and Cuyana—have launched or expanded buyback programs. 

With clothing buyback programs, brands power their own resale marketplaces. Rather than using third-party marketplaces—such as The RealReal or Poshmark—customers can resell and purchase pre-loved items directly from a brand. 

Branded resale empowers shoppers to reject overconsumption and keep their pre-loved goods out of landfills. At the same time, shoppers can purchase pre-worn apparel and gear from brands they love. For retailers, resale as a channel boosts customer engagement, drives sustainable practices, and grows profitability without growing emissions. 

14 brands with Resale Programs 

1. Levi’s Secondhand

Levi’s launched Levi’s Secondhand in October 2020. The clothing buyback program was the “first of its kind” for a denim brand. Customers can trade in pre-loved clothing, buy pre-worn styles, and find vintage pieces.

Customers start by booking trade-in appointments online. A retail associate will inspect potential items during the appointment. In exchange for accepted apparel, customers receive trade-in credits ranging from $5 to $30. If items are “unwearable,” Levi’s will donate or recycle them. 

The program contributes to Levi’s sustainability strategy, which focuses on protecting the climate, rethinking consumption, and building communities. According to Levi’s, buying a pre-worn pair of Levi’s jeans saves approximately 80% of CO2 emissions and 1.5 pounds of waste compared to buying a new pair. 

2. Worn Wear by Patagonia

Introduced in 2017, Worn Wear by Patagonia celebrates the “Stories We Wear.” The program enables customers to resell and purchase pre-loved apparel and gear. 

Customers can trade in clothing by mail or visit a Patagonia store. If items are accepted, customers will receive credit for use in a retail store, on Patagonia’s website, or at wornwear.com. The outdoor brand then repairs and refurbishes products for resale. 

Patagonia’s Worn Wear initiative is part of the company’s broader effort to protect the planet—such as its 1% For The Planet and Patagonia Action Works initiatives. According to Patagonia, buying pre-loved garments reduces a product’s carbon footprint by at least 30%. 

3. Like New by Lululemon 

In 2021, Lululemon piloted its Like New program in 86 stores. The majority of trade-ins during its first year qualified as “good as new.” In the Spring of 2022, Lululemon expanded the program across the United States. 

With Like New, Lululemon aims to “keep gear in motion and out of landfills.” Customers bring their pre-loved items to a store and receive a credit towards future purchases.

Like New is part of a larger sustainability strategy for the lifestyle brand, which includes creating a circular ecosystem and using 100% sustainable materials by 2030.

4. Eileen Fisher Renew

Eileen Fisher was one of the first brands to start a clothing buyback program. Since 2009, over 1.9 million pieces have been resold, donated, or remade into new designs. The brand even operates two Renew stores in Irvington, NY, and Seattle, WA. 

The Renew program empowers customers to create a more sustainable wardrobe. A customer can trade in clothing at any Eileen Fisher or Renew store or mail it to the company. The brand will then sort, repair, and clean each piece for resale. For each item accepted, customers receive $5 in Renew Rewards. 

Renew does more than keep clothes out of landfills. The program educates shoppers about the environmental benefits of repairing, upcycling, and recycling clothing to change the industry’s “take-make-waste” model. 

5. Re/Supply by REI

With Re/Supply, REI aims to “reimagine the lifecycle of outdoor gear.” Since its launch in 2018, the program has been a great success. Last year, REI reported 86% revenue growth of its Re/Supply business. In 2022, REI expanded the program to all 168 U.S. stores.

Customers must be Co-op members to participate. After determining whether the trade-in is eligible and estimating its value online, customers can bring pre-loved products to their local REI store. If customers prefer to mail their products, REI will provide a pre-paid label. Upon acceptance, customers receive a gift card via email. The outdoor retailer will then refurbish pre-loved apparel and gear for resale. 

The Re/Supply program is part of a larger initiative to promote a “future for used gear, and life outside.” Last year, the company donated $7.1 million to more than 450 nonprofit partners to “address industry inequities and protect the planet.”

6. Clothes the Loop by The North Face

The North Face is on a mission to “give gear a second chance.” With its Clothes the Loop program, customers can trade in and buy pre-loved outdoor apparel and gear. 

The program is open to customers who are part of the brand’s XPLR Pass loyalty membership program. Customers can receive a $10 discount on their next purchase when they trade in pre-loved North Face gear at participating stores. Currently, the program is only available in the United States and Canada.

Clothes the Loop is part of the outdoor retailer’s mission to “Waste Less Explore More.” As part of its Renewed program, the brand keeps pre-loved, returned, damaged, or defective gear in use. The company also uses scraps of unsellable goods to manufacture its REMADE collection. 

7. Timberloop by Timberland

Launched in August 2021, Timberloop by Timberland is a circular design platform. With Timberloop, the outdoor and workwear brand is rethinking design and manufacturing, focused on extending a product’s lifecycle.

Customers can trade in pre-loved footwear, clothing, and accessories by mail or bring items to a donation box in participating stores. (The retailer also accepts brands other than Timberland.) Upon acceptance, customers receive 20% off one Timberland item. 

Timberland divides pre-loved products into two categories. Whenever possible, the retailer will repair and clean products for resale. If items are unsellable, Timberland will upcycle the fabric and materials. 

8. Madewell Forever

Madewell launched Madewell Forever in 2021 in partnership with thredUP. The program is part of Madewell’s mission to “Rewear, Recirculate, and Repeat.” 

Customers request a Clean Out Kit and mail in their pre-loved items. All labels, including brands other than Madewell, are eligible. Clean-out Kits take up to four weeks to process, and the payouts vary. 

Each pair of Madewell jeans entitles customers to $20 in credit, while the payout for other items ranges between 4% and 56%. Customers can redeem credit in any Madewell store or online. 

9. Revive by Cuyana

Founded in April 2022, Revive by Cuyana aims to give pre-loved Cuyana pieces a second life. The program is unique. Revive lets customers list their small leather goods and bags online.

Users identify products from Cuyana’s product catalog and post them on the Revive website. Although sellers can set their prices, Cuyana will recommend an amount based on the original price and quality of the item. When an item sells, Cuyana sends the user a pre-paid shipping label. Sellers can redeem 70% of their earnings as cash or 100% as Cuyana Credit. 

The Revive program is part of Cuyana’s mission to produce “Fewer, Better Things.” With Revive by Cuyana, the brand keeps its long-lasting products in circulation and out of landfills. 

10. Preloved by PacSun

As part of a partnership with thredUP, PacSun introduced Preloved by PacSun in April 2022. The program is part of its PacSun Eco initiative to reduce the company’s environmental impact. 

Customers request a Clean Out Kit and fill the box with any brands. Once the kit is processed, items will be available for resale on thredUP’s website for 30 days. 

Customers receive a credit when an item sells, redeemable online or in-store. If a product doesn’t sell, the company will recycle it or return it to the customer for a fee. 

11. ReBird by Arc’Teryx

ReBird by Arc’Teryx aims to “get gear back in action.” With ReBird, the brand encourages circularity. According to Arc’Teryx, the production of one of its jackets creates 65% of the product’s environmental impact.

Customers can trade in pre-loved clothing online or in-store. For pieces eligible for “rewilding,” customers receive a gift card of 20% of the original price. If Arc’Teryx deems the item unsellable, the brand will upcycle the materials and fabric into new pieces. 

12. ReRun by Allbirds

Launched in May 2022, ReRun by Allbirds enables customers to trade in and buy pre-loved Allbirds shoes. The direct-to-consumer brand is currently piloting the program in three stores, with plans to expand it across the United States.

Allbirds’ customers can trade in re-worn shoes and receive $20 in credit. The brand will refurbish and resell shoes starting at $59 per pair. If Allbirds cannot resell an item, it will be donated or recycled.

ReRun is part of Allbirds’ “Flight Plan” initiative, a series of sustainability commitments. The footwear retailer aims to reduce its per-product carbon footprint in half by the end of 2025. 

13. Onward by On

On started its trade-in program—Onward by On—in September 2022. Customers fill out a form online with a description of their pre-loved shoes. If the items are accepted, the brand will send customers a pre-paid shipping label by email. After On receives the shoes, customers receive a $35 gift card. 

Upon arrival at the On warehouse, all shoes are cleaned and refurbished for resale. The company will donate or recycle any pairs considered unsellable.  

Onward by On is part of the brand’s initiative for “less waste, more performance.” The brand has taken numerous measures to minimize its environmental impact—including using carbon emissions as raw materials and introducing a circular subscription service. 

14. IKEA Buy Back & ReSell

Ikea first piloted a buyback program at its Conshohocken store in Pennsylvania in the fall of 2021. Earlier this year, the home retailer expanded the program to 35 locations across the United States.

The IKEA Buy Back and Resell program is open to members of its IKEA Family Member loyalty program. Customers submit a form and receive a quote for their pre-loved furniture. After receiving an estimate, customers bring all items to a participating IKEA store in exchange for store credit. The program will accept most furniture except beds, mattresses, sofas, and certain leather products.

IKEA’s Buy Back and Resell program is part of IKEA’s journey to be a circular business by 2030. The Swedish retailer hopes to expand the program across the globe.

Launching a clothing buyback program with Trove

Trove is a white-label technology service that powers branded resale marketplaces directly on your domain. Trove’s all-in-one platform unifies the technology, operations, and analytics to help brands launch and grow clothing buyback programs.

Trove works with some of the world’s most loved brands to keep goods out of landfills—including Lululemon, REI, Allbirds, and Eileen Fisher. In 2022, our brand partners saved over 2 million kgs of CO2 emissions and prevented over 200,000 kgs of landfill waste.

Book a demo today to discover how brands deliver exceptional branded resale customer experiences with Trove. 

Solve Fashion’s Return Problem & Grow Your Brand with Branded Resale

The last three years have created unprecedented challenges for retailers. New shopper habits, rising inflation, and supply chain delays have altered the retail landscape. For brands, finding creative ways to drive revenue is critical.

One channel that generates immediate ROI? Branded resale.

Branded resale describes retailers who operate resale channels in-house. It allows retailers to manage the trade-in and resale process from start to finish. —rather than having products appear on third-party resale sites.

Today, brands such as Lululemon, REI, Patagonia, and Levi’s have implemented white-label branded resale platforms with Trove.

The benefits of branded resale extend beyond helping retailers meet their sustainability goals. Leveraging inventory from customers’ closets and returns creates new opportunities for brand growth.

Why should brands open their own resale marketplaces?

As the retail landscape continues to change, retailers must rethink retail operations. “There’s a lot of reasons why now is the right time to start a branded resale channel,” says Pete Small, VP of Partnerships at Trove. “It’s only been bolstered by the macro environment.”

Small compares the growth of recommerce to the early days of e-commerce. “Any industry data that you look at points to resale as a channel continuing to grow and to demographic shifts towards buying used,” he says. “It’s very much an investment towards where the market is going. It’s been compared to what e-commerce was 20 or 25 years ago.”

Here are five reasons why brands should invest in branded recommerce.

1. Brands can also focus on providing shoppers with the best customer experience.

According to the National Retail Federation, returns accounted for $761 billion in lost sales in 2021. Shoppers returned approximately 16.6% of all merchandise purchased during the year. With the acceleration of ecommerce, that number is expected to grow.

Returns not only reduce profits but are also destructive to the environment. Every year, returns contribute to almost six billion pounds of landfill waste in the United States. And the shipping of returns emits over 16 million tons of CO2.

With branded resale, retailers minimize losses on returns and reduce their environmental impact. Small argues that returns “gives your brand the opportunity to engage with your product at a different price point.”

Small also stresses that returns offer an easy way to get started with resale programs. By using existing inventory, recommerce programs provide ROI on day one.

2. Branded resale combats supply chain shortages

The COVID-19 pandemic caused supply chain disruptions for retailers across all categories. Repeated factory shutdowns left retailers with low inventory levels. The US Census Bureau found retailers had only 33 days of inventory in June 2021, down from 43 days in February 2020. The Russia-Ukraine war has only worsened the problem by blocking shipping routes.

With branded resale, retailers have immediate access to a new source of inventory. “There are thousands of items of inventory… already out in the market,” says Small. “Some of it is being used. Likely a large part of it is sitting dormant in closets. And the [mission] of our program is to get that product back in use.”

Branded resale allows retailers to access untapped inventory and provide customers with products faster.

3. Shoppers demand sustainable options

A growing awareness of climate change has led people to explore more sustainable lifestyles. Today, 40% of shoppers cite sustainability as the reason they buy pre-loved goods.

Gen Z shoppers were early adopters of the recommerce market, participating in sites like Depop, Poshmark, and StockX. Now, 62% of Gen Z prefer to buy from eco-conscious brands, and 54% are willing to pay more for sustainable products.

At the same time, Gen Z shoppers are wary of greenwashing. It’s not enough for brands to say they care about the planet. Retailers must incorporate sustainability into every aspect of their operations—including product materials, manufacturing, and shipping.

But Gen Z is not the only generation that values sustainability. Shoppers of all ages are adopting more environmentally-conscious purchasing habits. Last year, Baby Boomers represented the fastest-growing segment in the resale market. The number of Baby Boomers participating in recommerce increased by 56% year-over-year.

How Branded Resale is Drawing in New Customers this Holiday Season

4. Branded resale drives more value out of your product

Resale as a channel also enhances the customer experience. With trade-in, repair, and resale programs, brands enable customers to participate in a circular ecosystem. At REI, trade-ins have become an integral part of its membership program. Last year, REI expanded its trade-in program to all its retail stores and sold over one million pre-loved goods.

Branded resale enables retailers to maximize the value of their products. Elizabeth Cline, the author of The Conscious Closet, found that recommerce extends a product’s lifespan 1.7 times. As a result, brands can resell the product multiple times.

Most importantly, branded resale puts retailers in control. “Whether or not you as a brand decide to build your own program, the activity is going to happen in the market,” says Small. “You can choose to ignore [it] or you can choose to take advantage of all that activity. [You want to] ensure that you are putting out the best customer experience and recouping the maximum value from your customers and products.”

With branded resale, retailers maintain control over their brand identity and pricing. Brands can also focus on providing shoppers with the best customer experience.

5. Branded resale provides immediate ROI despite economic uncertainty

Finally, branded resale enables brands to compete with rising inflation and economic uncertainty. Today, 36% of shoppers buy pre-worn goods to save money or afford products. When shoppers tighten their wallets, branded resale allows retailers to remain accessible.

“Resale [can be] counter-cyclical to the macroenvironment. As there are challenges with the economy, people are typically looking for a more value option. Resale is a good way to enable that,” says Small.

With branded resale, retailers can repurpose existing inventory to help drive revenue in a volatile economy.

Branded Resale Shopper Statistics

What should brands know before implementing branded resale?

Run Your Recommerce like Ecommerce

While returns make it easy to start a resale program, brands must be strategic to ensure success. “It’s important to think about resale like you would any new business,” says Small. “Essentially [you’re] building a new startup. You need resourcing for that business. You need dedicated decision-making.”

A retailer must approach branded resale the same way they would grow a sub-brand. At the same time, a retailer should understand how the recommerce channel will complement and support the company’s core business.

The path to profitability takes time

As with any new business, success takes time. Brands must establish clear metrics and milestones to track progress.

Small stresses that retailers should understand how branded resale impacts the rest of their brands’ ecosystems. Customer lifetime value, engagement, and gift card programs are a few metrics to consider. “We encourage our partners to not only look at the P&L of the resale business on its own… but also other parts that are influencing the wider business,” he says.

Flexibility is essential

At the same time, Small recommends remaining flexible. “Every brand is unique, and their customer base is unique, so we should be open to change,” he says. “[At Trove], we’re well-equipped to help you manage those changes. We’ve built a number of checkpoints into the process… to assess what’s going well, where there’s an opportunity, [and] where we can improve.”

Trove approaches each brand as a strategic partner, offering ongoing support through every step of the business.

Branded recommerce with Trove

Trove is an all-in-one white-label platform that powers branded resale. With Trove, retailers design and operate sustainable branded resale programs–right from their websites.

With the ability to tap into existing inventory—such as trade-in programs or returns—Trove helps drive immediate results. And retailers have access to a comprehensive analytics dashboard to help them grow their resale business.

Get started today to see how brands drive immediate ROI with Trove.

We Need to Rethink Fashion’s Current Growth Model

For the last half a century, the fashion industry has relied on a linear supply chain. With this model, growing profit through garment sales means brands must ramp up production. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, clothing consumption doubled between 2000 and 2015, and wears per garment decreased by 40%

While fashion companies are trying to be more sustainable, they haven’t addressed the main issue: rampant growth in the production of new garments makes the current fashion model unsustainable.

To meet customer demand without increasing manufacturing, brands need to rethink their current growth model.

Branded resale is the most brand-centric obvious solution. Brands that sell their products through resale programs can reduce new production and reintroduce pre-owned branded products into their supply. This shift benefits shoppers and brands as it allows growth in sales without an increase in carbon emissions. Simply put, brands should ask themselves- Why sell an item once when you can sell it multiple times?

Why Fashion Needs a New Growth Model

The impact the fashion industry has on the environment is huge. A 2019 report from the UNEP finds the fashion industry creates about 8-10% of global carbon emissions. A 2020 report from the Princeton Climate Initiative finds emissions attributed to the fashion industry are likely to increase by 50% if brands stick with the current growth model.  Fashion is expected to account for 20% of the 2040 CO2 budget. [McKinsey… need to find the source]

The solution to fashion’s sustainability issue lies in an overhaul of the entire growth model, which includes addressing overproduction and textile waste.

Textile Production Drinks Up Our Water Supply

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, fashion textile production uses 93 billion cubic meters of water annually. The impact of this level of production is felt in the communities of dry regions where clothing is manufactured.

In addition to water consumption, 20% of global wastewater is caused by dyeing and finishing clothing. The harmful chemicals used in these processes tend to find their way into waterways. Due to the chemicals used in the process, the water supply often can’t be treated to become drinkable after it’s polluted.

If fashion brands stick to the current growth model, it would mean an ever-increasing need for textile manufacturing. This model is not sustainable as it simultaneously decreases the total amount of usable water while increasing the demand.

Fast Fashion Capitalizes on Novelty at the Expense of Quality

In the 1990s, fast fashion companies like Zara, H&M, and Forever 21 reshaped fashion seasons from four to 52-micro seasons. More fashion seasons required brands to design and manufacture new clothing lines faster, all while sacrificing quality for quantity.

Shoppers, ever driven by the dopamine rush of something affordable and novel, responded to this trend by buying more items of clothing, more frequently. Brands have continued to reinvest in low-quality, low-durability garments creating a vicious cycle of unsustainable supply and demand.

Branded Resale is the Obvious Solution

While there may be no quick fixes, branded resale is an obvious solution for brands committed to meeting the climate change mitigation goals laid out in the 2015 Paris Accords.

Branded resale reintroduces pre-worn branded products into a brand’s supply chain.  By giving these pre-worn garments a new life, brands can continue to profit from their products over time. This more sustainable model allows for business growth without relying solely on an increase in production.

While retailers have expressed concerns that resale could cannibalize primary sales, new studies published disprove those fears. According to Women’s Wear Daily, 60% of shoppers have discovered a brand through secondhand shopping. The survey suggests that branded resale can introduce shoppers to a brand at a lower price point, which may then lead to primary sales.

The bottom line is, that branded resale pumps the brakes on shopper and shareholder demands for ever-increasing production while allowing a brand continued growth. Reducing production supports global efforts to reduce carbon emissions and water pollution. This creates an overall net positive from a corporate social responsibility perspective.

The future of customer closets looks more fluid as resale becomes a popular way to shop. The only roadblock for brands to create a circular shopping experience is architecture and logistics.

Companies such as Trove, have created end-to-end item intelligence technology that optimizes every step of the circular journey. Trove’s white-label branded resale platform transforms complex logistics into a joyful customer experience, adding to brand equity without increasing carbon emissions.

We believe creating a more inclusive, less wasteful business model is possible. Let us show you how we can help your brand enter a new era of conscious commerce. The seeds of a sustainable future must be planted today. Book a free demo with us today!

Why Branded Resale Should Be Your Growth Strategy

According to Global Data, branded resale programs increased by 275% from 2020 to 2021. Brands like Arc’teryx and Eileen Fisher, early to adopt this strategy are seeing huge success with their branded resale programs. 

It’s hard to ignore a booming sales channel that offers both a positive impact on the planet and sustainable brand growth

At Trove, we’re committed to bringing sustainable solutions to the fashion industry. We understand the risks and objections executives might have when it comes to rolling out a branded resale shopping experience for their customers. Here we’ve outlined some of the statistics and case studies that prove branded resale is a strong play for brands committed to sustainability. 

Your Customers Already Shop Secondhand

While much of the interest in resale has been driven by Generation Z’s concern for sustainability and affordability, research shows that shoppers across all generations are shifting to resale purchases.

According to research conducted by the Baker Retailing Center at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, shopping secondhand has surged by almost 30% across all generations in the last few years

It’s interesting to note that while shoppers have different options for shopping resale, such as peer-to-peer marketplaces and clothing swaps, 65% prefer brand-operated or third-party Recommerce. This preference clearly demonstrates an opportunity for fashion brands to capitalize on. 

First Insight x Wharton

The Stigma of Secondhand Has Shifted 

Sustainability has always been a large part of why shoppers purchase pre-owned items, but inflation and the pandemic accelerated the growth of the resale market.

With less disposable income, shoppers tightened their budgets during the pandemic and became more conscious of their spending. While some bought second-hand to save money, they also dipped into their own closets to find the clothing they could resell. And, as health restrictions shuttered stores, shoppers turned to digital shopping experiences to supply their fashion fix. 

The below chart illustrates a group of respondents from 2021. Across all generations, most have purchased secondhand online. 

First Insight x Wharton

These changes in habits, combined with an ongoing awareness of our environmental footprint, are inspiring more customers to buy and sell pre-owned apparel. Not only is there less of a stigma against buying used goods, but people are also proud to share their finds. 

Branded Resale Reduces Counterfeits

According to data from the OECD, fake products are a $4.5 trillion market, with fake luxury goods accounting for 60-70% of that. As more shoppers go online for their favorite brands, counterfeiters are seizing new opportunities to sell through third-party marketplaces and peer-to-peer platforms.

Recent publications raise concerns regarding the in-house authentication processes of resellers like The RealReal, eBay, and ThredUp. According to an investigation by The Capitol Forum in 2019, hourly workers with the title of “copywriter” were responsible for authenticating luxury brand items. The report further explains that copywriters were pressured to meet authentication quotes of 130-155 items a day or risk being fired. 

While counterfeit items have always been a challenge for the fashion industry, luxury brands suffer more when third-party resale platforms sell counterfeit products as authenticated branded apparel. 

This poses a threat to brand reputation and could result in a loss of revenue if enough low-quality counterfeits are introduced into the market as authenticated products. 

At Trove, we partner with brands to create a branded authentication process. This way, you and your customers can feel secure knowing the products purchased through your branded resale channel are genuine. 

Branded Resale Revitalizes Brick & Mortar Locations

Outdoor gear retailer, REI is a perfect example of how branded resale channels can work together to support brick-and-mortar locations. In 2018, the brand launched its online resale channel. Then in 2020, the brand launched its online trade-in program and also offered trade-in at select stores. Members were encouraged to trade in their gently used gear in exchange for an REI gift card. 

After implementing their resale strategy, REI reported their used gear revenue increased by 86% year over year and their total year-over-year sales growth by 36%. 

Today they’ve expanded resale trade-in to all their brick-and-mortar stores after seeing the impact branded resale as a channel has had on both online and in-store sales. 

By offering used goods in-store and incentives for in-store trade-ins, REI created an opportunity to connect with customers who may be new to the brand while also serving avid brand loyalists ready to trade in and upgrade their gear. 

Executives considering branded resale should be thinking about how their resale strategy can support both online and brick-and-mortar locations. Trove offers an end-to-end solution for branded resale. We power the technology, operations, and analytics to help you gain insights into shopper behavior online and in brick-and-mortar locations. 

Resale Supports Brand Growth, Even During Supply Chain Shortages

Brands require a steady inventory of products to generate sales and maintain market share. As the pandemic revealed, the supply chain can be disrupted at any time by a shortage of materials and equipment, shipping and transportation challenges, and labor shortages.

Customers who can’t purchase the products they want because of an interrupted supply chain often look for similar offerings from competitors. It takes only a few clicks to switch to another brand, and businesses risk losing the customer entirely when they’re satisfied with the competition and decide not to come back.

A resale channel can help a brand through supply chain shortages by providing another avenue for shoppers to find products, and generating continuing revenue to support operations. Resale as a channel also extends the customer lifecycle with a brand. 

Trove Makes Launching Your Branded Resale Channel Easy

Premium brands such as Lululemon, Levi’s, and Patagonia are among the many businesses taking ownership of their resale products by partnering with Trove. These brands continue to drive sales from the initial purchase of their products to capturing additional revenue from resales that might otherwise be lost to third-party sellers.

To learn more about tapping into this channel, schedule a demo with us today

Sneaker Brands Are Missing Out on a $10 Billion Industry

According to research conducted by Piper Sandler in 2021, the global sneaker resale market is worth $10 billion. Sneaker resale makes up nearly 25% of the global secondhand apparel market

Why Decision Makers Should Consider Branded Resale

  • Capture Sneaker Customer Data & Sales Analytics
  • Combat Counterfeit Product 
  • Build Community & Brand Loyalty

Capture Sneaker Customer Data & Sales Analytics

According to Gerald Flores, former editor-in-chief of Sole Collector, when brands own their own resale channel, “they’re able to capture more data points on what makes a hype sneaker.” Data like this can help brands understand how much product they should initially release or re-release. 

Re-releases of Yeezy’s collaboration with Adidas drove down the resale demand and price to a more reasonable level. By controlling their own branded resale channels, sneaker brands can have their finger on the pulse of resale trends without saturating the market. 

Combat Counterfeit Product

In 2018, Homeland Security Investigations seized $70 million worth of counterfeit Air Jordans from New York-based warehouses. Counterfeit sneakers are a huge problem within the sneaker resale marketplace. 

Many third-party resale platforms make promises that their products are authentic, but there are reports of fake products being sold on these platforms. For example, Nike has filed a lawsuit against StockX for selling fake sneakers, and The RealReal has sold a fake Dior shoe for over $1000.

While some customers discover they’ve purchased a fake product immediately, others may not. For those customers that remain in the dark, a poor quality knock-off could impact their perception of the brand, decreasing the overall brand reputation. Negative customer reviews, loss of sales, and loss of partnerships with distributors are all ways counterfeit products can impact a sneaker brand. 

Branded resale programs help shoppers feel secure that their purchase is authentic while introducing a new stream of revenue. 

Build Community & Brand Loyalty

For many customers, sneakers are more than just a type of footwear. They’re a way to define their identity and symbolize membership in an exclusive community. Sneakerheads are a unique group with their own customs and language. It’s important for brands to create a sense of community when interacting with these customers.

Participating in sneaker resale gives brands more opportunities to create a community in retail locations. Breathe life into retail spaces that have lost foot traffic in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic by creating incentivized resale events via experiential activation campaigns.

Attract new and loyal customers by partnering with local artists and sneakerheads in the community to create signage and displays. Entering the resale space makes it easier for brands to tailor their in-store experiences to sneaker culture, increasing revenue and promoting brand loyalty.

Taking a Cut of the $10 Billion Sneaker Resale Industry is Easy With a Recommerce Operating System

Trove partners with established brands, giving them the power to manage their brand equity within the resale marketplace. 

Companies like Allbirds are already using Trove’s Recommerce Operating System to create their own resale programs, allowing them to stay connected with valued customers. Allbirds uses its ReRun platform to encourage customers to trade in their pre-worn shoes for in-store credit. These prices can be set or powered by Trove’s pricing algorithms.

This encourages buyers to stay within the Allbirds ecosystem instead of selling and buying on the peer-to-peer market. The ReRun platform also aligns with Allbirds’ commitment to sustainability.

Sneaker brands can use technology to capture a larger share of the resale market, establish a community, and protect their brand equity from counterfeiters.

Profitable and sustainable growth is possible with Trove. Schedule a demo with us today!

4 Resale Strategies to Grow Your Brand

If the reported growth of resale hasn’t motivated your brand’s executive team to consider resale, they may be a bit behind on current customer demands. Brands racing to the resale market need to consider how to use brand identity and reputation to their advantage. In the end, brands are competing with third-party marketplaces.  

Circular models require changes in customer habits and making the transition as easy as possible is the best way to ensure it happens. Solutions to the logistical problems of resale and how to motivate customers and sellers are key to implementing circular models, which could help with climate issues and increase profitability.

Use the following strategies to ensure your branded resale launch is a success.

Streamline the Trade-In Process

With an influx of climate-conscious customers, not only is there no longer a stigma around resale, there’s a demand for it. The secondhand fashion market is predicted to reach $67 billion by 2025. But for that to happen, businesses have to meet customers where they are.

Circular business models, such as resale, have a unique need for customer involvement in supply. Shopping for high-quality items at affordable prices is already an established behavior. The concept of trading-in items is a new customer behavior and is critical to running a successful resale program. That makes accommodating customers and creating the lowest resistance paths for trade-in integral and essential.

One way to streamline customer experience is redundancy. Providing options for trade-ins, including in-store and mail-in, increases the chances customers have an option that suits their needs. For example, in 2021, REI gave members an option to trade in their used gear online or in-store for credits. After the program was introduced, the brand reported a 36% increase in overall sales

Incentivize Customers to Trade-In

However streamlined the trade-in process is, it still requires some action from customers, which creates another key aspect of the chain: customer motivation. 

Trade-in credits, gift cards, VIP perks, and exclusive experiences are ways customers can be motivated to take part in the supply chain directly. Customers may also be motivated by positive brand association and sustainability. Creating branded content that informs customers on how recommerce promotes sustainability and inspires them to take part could be useful tools.

Trove has the technology, analytics, and operations to ensure logistics don’t bleed into the customer experience. That means customers will be more likely to continue to participate in trade-ins and have a positive association with their branded experience. Trove provides end-to-end recommerce solutions to optimize circular supply and help businesses meet customers where they are.

Your Top Buyers Can Be Your Top Sellers

The demand for pre-loved items is high globally and in the US, but there aren’t nearly as many sellers. Around 44% of people in the US reported buying secondhand, which is a relatively large customer base. But only 24% of the population reported selling secondhand items.

While these numbers might cause concerns about the supply chain, there are solutions. For one, to successfully supply a branded resale channel, there just needs to be enough sellers to meet the supply demands of buyers.

If your brand doesn’t have a large enough group of sellers, there are opportunities for creating more sellers. Loyal customers could be the perfect target for seller recruitment. Create ways to entice customers that already interact with your business to start selling. This may be achieved through advertising, promotion, or even direct contact with email lists or social media. The most important part is to dispel the perceived difficulty of becoming a seller by implementing user experience and customer experience best practices in the selling process.

Maintain Messaging Around Sustainability

As discussions about climate change and sustainability became more mainstream and dire, customers began pressuring brands to implement sustainable practices. There are segments of your resale audience that hold sustainability as one of the main reasons they’re shopping secondhand.

Creating clear, easy-to-understanding messaging about how circular business models help decrease waste and promote supply sustainability could be a powerful marketing lever your brand can pull. This type of messaging attracts buyers and sellers motivated by sustainability.

The circular economy can be a complex topic to translate to customers. Ensure your content strategy is aimed at simplifying this topic while providing actionable next steps. For example, a clothing brand might want to focus on the extended lifespan of clothing items in a circular chain. Infographics, blog posts, and videos explaining circular business models are some ways to inform customers. We suggest distributing this content via owned channels like your socials and blog.

The Future Is Circular

The demand for pre-loved items and the need for sustainability are not going away any time soon. Utilizing circular business models like resale is an important consideration for executives worried about supply and brand sustainability. Learn more about these issues and how Trove works to solve them by scheduling a free demo today. 

Why Luxury Brands Are Saying Goodbye to Fashion Seasons

Fashion has long revolved around seasons, with the fall/winter season running from July through December and the spring/summer season running from January through June. Designers traditionally launch new spring/summer collections in September and showcase fall/winter fashions in March.

Smaller fashion shows would take place up to five times each year, driving shoppers toward the latest, trendiest designs and creating a short life cycle for each item. Preparation for the next fashion season would begin six months in advance, and stores would be stocked with seasonal clothing shortly after the new designs showed up on runways. New retail stock for mass-market consumption has a turnover of about two weeks, with new stock produced and shipped to stores multiple times per month.

Traditional fashion seasons have begun to give way to seasonless fashion, which puts the focus on high-quality garments with cross-seasonal boundaries and reduces the need for a new wardrobe twice each year. The pandemic served as a catalyst for this change, but evergreen clothing items had already begun to seep into seasonal collections in small ways over the last few years.

Some brands, including Michael Kors and Saint Laurent, no longer follow the traditional seasonal calendar when introducing new designs. Both Gucci and Prada stopped using the seasonal calendar to introduce collections in 2020.

The Benefits of Seasonless Fashion

The focus of seasonless fashion revolves around comfort, timeless designs, and long-lasting fabrics that can be worn longer than a few months. Seasonless fashion also improves the sustainability of the industry. According to WWD, “By shifting away from a calendar-based cycle, retailers and brands can avoid arbitrary cut-off dates, order quantities, and markdown cycles when there’s unseasonably warm or cold weather.

By loosening constraints, the seasonless model allows for the generation of other options, and thereby, better decisions and outcomes for business and consumers alike.” 

Garments Designed to be Timeless

Timeless garments are always in fashion, so the same outfit can work through spring, summer, fall, and winter. Modern fashion designers committed to a seasonless fashion philosophy create silhouettes that are always in fashion.

Multi-season designs can be adjusted to suit various weather conditions and seasonal trends. A classic blouse that can be worn alone in summer or with a sweater layered on top during the winter works year-round. Customers are more likely to wear timeless pieces year after year as well, which extends the lifespan of each item of clothing in a closet.

Creating a wardrobe of timeless fashion involves choosing base pieces that serve as a canvas for layered clothes and accessories. Long-lasting fabrics, such as linen, cotton, and silk, provide durability and textural appeal that less sturdy synthetic fabrics just can’t match.

Reduces Supply Chain Production Demands on Factories

Shifting to a seasonless fashion philosophy in retail and design spaces reduces customer demand for the latest trends. Factory supply chains run more smoothly since fewer products are needed, and the relentless demand for new styles is reduced.

Some fast fashion cycles involve periods of high factory use followed by between-season dips in production. A seasonless approach provides consistent work throughout the year for those in the garment industry, creating a better system for workers at all levels.

Reduces Impulse Purchases

Impulse purchases are often driven by a need to have the latest and greatest fashion item. The drive to always stay on trend plays into the relentless fast fashion industry. Advertising tells customers that they need to have the newest fashion items, and this drives designers to create new designs to fill that demand. Changes in small details, such as hem length or patterns, from season to season encourage customers to buy into the cycle of fast fashion.

The fast speed of production involved in seasonal fashion also leaves customers feeling pressured to buy items right away. Since trend cycles move quickly, an item on store shelves one week may disappear by the next week. Customers used to fast fashion may impulse buy clothes they like without thinking about long-term wear simply because they’re afraid to miss out on the design if they wait.

Seasonless collections allow for a more relaxed slow fashion approach to shopping. Items without a fashion expiration date remain available longer, so shoppers can take their time to decide which pieces truly fit into their existing wardrobe. Fewer impulse purchases also reduce over-consumption and address the growing problem of too-rapid trend cycles in the industry.

Less Waste

One major issue with fast fashion is that it often produces waste when trends go out of style. Fabric may become useless at the end of a season as new patterns or colors are introduced. Seasonless fashion gets around this problem by producing clothing designed to last more than one season instead of being heavily invested in trendy details. Fabric from a prior season can be incorporated into future clothing without the worry of it being out of style.

Some slow fashion brands focus on waste reduction at the factory level. Strategies used by brands to encourage seasonless design and reduce waste include:

  • Producing made-to-order clothing instead of using mass production of items that may not sell
  • Producing in smaller batches without changes between batches to protect against overproduction
  • Creating recycling programs to buy back older clothing items and using the recycled pieces to make new clothes

Less Focus on Clearance Items

Fast fashion that isn’t sold ends up going on clearance because retailers have to make room for the next season’s clothes. This leads to a cycle of overproduction, clearance sales, and devaluing of clothing.

When fashion isn’t tied to specific seasons and trendy details, there’s no need to put last season’s products on sale to make room for a new fashion line. Seasonless fashion can be sold year-round or moved into storage to return to the sales floor once the weather shifts again.

Why Is It Important to Adopt a Seasonless Model?

Polyester and other synthetic fibers are a major source of microplastic pollution in the environment. The fashion industry also accounts for more carbon emissions than international air travel and maritime shipping combined. Seasonless fashion cuts into the heart of this disposable clothing cycle by reducing demand and reducing the need to dispose of older pieces as they go out of fashion.

Slow seasonless fashion is sustainable fashion. As the industry shifts to a model where reusing clothing and investing in high-quality garments designed to last for years is the norm, fashion becomes more sustainable. Currently, about 11.3 million tons of textile waste are thrown away each year, over 2,000 garments per second.

At Trove, we partner with brands committed to creating sustainable models for the future of the fashion industry. Our revolutionary end-to-end technology, merchandising, and omnichannel supply generation approach empowers brands to extend the life of millions of products, creating more inclusive, less wasteful business practices.

Contact us today to learn how we can help your brand step into a new era of conscious commerce.