retail, resale, recommerce, thrift, shopping, consumer behavior

At a time when conventional retail is struggling, it only makes sense to seek out an alternative recourse — or a second opinion. According to a September analysis by market research firm IBISWorld, the used goods industry has outperformed the overall retail market over the five years to 2019.

The apparel industry has certainly been witness to the disruption, so WWD asked experts in the reuse, re-commerce, resale and secondhand markets what trends will define retail in 2020 and beyond.

Recycle/Reuse

For Tony Shumpert, vice president of recycling and reuse at Savers, it’s culture and excitement.

Tony Shumpert, Savers

Tony Shumpert, nearly 20 years in the reuse and recycling sector at Savers.  Courtesy Image

“I think going forward when we think about the changing landscape of retail. I don’t think there’s a reason for anyone to go to a store today just for a cheap price point. Whether it is new players coming into the resale space, (brick-and-commerce or e-commerce) it’s about the experience, the thrill of the find, company culture and that what you stand for aligns with the consumer.”

Savers is a for-profit brick-and-mortar thrift store chain that has been operating on its “Rethink Reuse” model for more than 60 years.

Resale

For reseller Sarah Davis, founder at Fashionphile, it’s consumer curiosity.

Sarah Davis, fashionphile

Sarah Davis, Fashionphile’s founder  Courtesy Image

“In 2020, more people than ever will ask themselves, ‘What is the resale value of this handbag?’ — or watch, or piece of jewelry or pair of sneakers — before they make a purchase.”

Fashionphile was founded in 1999, as what the platform calls a “purveyor of pre-owned luxury accessories,” with Neiman Marcus purchasing a minority stake in the company in April.

For James Reinhart, chief executive officer and cofounder of ThredUp, it’s three major trends.

thredup founder

James Reinhart, ThredUp’s founder.  Courtesy Image

First, “Gen Z will continue to lead the way toward a sustainable fashion future.”

Second, “New waves of consumers and retailers will embrace resale. Ten years from now, every retail store will have a thrift component, and every closet will have more secondhand clothing and a cleanout bag. We’ll all look back and wonder why we ever shopped and consumed fashion the way we did.”

Third, “Fast-fashion will continue to fall out of favor. If Forever 21’s fate was any indication, consumer preferences are evolving, and retailers who refuse to get with the times will be left behind.”

ThredUp is a 10-year-old fashion resale marketplace that was recently awarded RetailDive’s “Disruptor of the Year” award.

Re-commerce 

For Andy Ruben, founder and ceo of Yerdle, “dozens of niche offerings will emerge to serve brands and multibrand retailers.”

Andy Ruben

Andy Ruben, founder and ceo of Yerdle.  Courtesy Image

“Many will falter as they scale given the complexity of managing single-sku logistics and trade-in offerings at scale. As expectations continue to increase, there will be consolidation of these service providers as brands require scalable solutions to address their needs.”

Yerdle is a business-to-business branded resale platform doing the heavy lifting for the likes of Eileen Fisher, Patagonia, Rei and Arc’teryx.

Circular Investment

For Caroline Brown, managing director at Closed Loop Partners, technology is key.

Caroline Brown, Closed Loop Partners

Caroline Brown, managing director at Closed Loop Partners.  Courtesy Image

“We believe 2020 will be a year that brands take the necessary steps to capture maximum value of their products by keeping them in play longer. This is the year we will see brands engage with the technologies to track, recapture, repair and ultimately resell their products — staying connected to their customers at every step of the process. A company that can make and sell a product is strong, a company that can make and sell that same product multiple times is even stronger.”

Closed Loop Partners is a New York-based investment firm and innovation center focused on the development of circular economies.

Technology 

For Vidyuth Srinivasan, founder and ceo of Entrupy, it comes down to consumer loyalty and trust.

Vidyuth Srinivasan, ceo of Entrupy

Vidyuth Srinivasan, ceo of Entrupy  Courtesy Image

“There’s a lot of new collaborations that are probably going to come up in the next year. Whether you’re a retailer or a luxury brand — it’s asking, ‘How do you make your relationship much more long-term with your consumer?'”

Srinivasan added, “We’re going to see more returns fraud and resellers taking in returns — essentially creating better return policies, similar to traditional retailers.”

Entrupy is a product authentication technology and a recent participant in LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s accelerator program.

Read more from WWD: 

Uncertainty, Recession Threat, Climate Change to Impact Retail

For Retail’s Upcoming ‘Big Show,’ a Mix of Optimism and Uncertainty

Retail’s Mergers & Acquisitions

WATCH: How Ashley Graham Changed the Fashion Industry

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