The Real Real has launched a new commerce solution that was built in-house to scale with the company’s quickly evolving business needs and support its bricks-and-mortar expansion. The Real Real 360 offers a unified real-time view of inventory, product and customer activity across desktop, mobile, stores and warehouses, among other functions.
“We were trying to bring a technology solution that would solve customers’ needs,” said Joshua Mahoney, chief product officer at The Real Real. “We have 7 million members, a web site and now we have stores. We want to make sure we can get the customer what they want, when they want it.”
To do that, The Real Real built out the technology platform. “One customer view allows us to talk to the shopper with one voice,” Mahoney said. “This will empower us in stores to have great conversations with consumers about what they want.”
“We attribute our success and fast growth over the last six years to the fact that we’re a technology-first company and have leveraged our in-house technology and innovation to develop solutions that didn’t exist in the market,” said Julie Wainwright, chief executive officer and founder of The Real Real. “Our focus on building a nimble platform has led to a business that can weather quickly changing retail and tech environments.”
The luxury resale e-commerce site in November opened its first physical store, in Manhattan’s SoHo. Prior to committing to a permanent store, The Real Real tested a pop-up shop in the neighborhood. It followed a similar strategy in San Francisco, where it recently operated a pop-up shop. Asked if the brand will open a store there, Mahoney said, “Yeah, I think we’ll do something permanent. We’re really excited about the performance of the San Francisco pop-up shop. This will be a year of pop-ups for us. We’ll do three or four later this year, starting with Las Vegas. We’ll use this solution  in the different pop-ups.”
The Real Real is using 360 both as an inventory tool and a sales tool, arming sales associates with more information about a product, including its history and details about its specifications. “It also gives sales associates information about products that aren’t in the store. Store staff can check inventory on the spot to see, for example, if a certain handbag is available in a different color,” Mahoney said.
He explained that due to the one-off nature of The Real Real’s previously owned assortment, “A single unit of inventory is much more precious to us than most companies. What’s unique about the Real Real is the individual stockkeeping units. Keeping track of inventory is much more important for us. It’s also important to remember that as soon a purchase is made in the store, that item is no longer available and has to be removed from the site. There are so many covetable items. We have to make sure we have the right availability.”
The Real Real 360 can check-out shoppers remotely. In addition, experts, such as gemologists and watch experts, who work at the SoHo unit’s luxury consignment office can use 360 as a clienteling device. “It’s an iPad, so they’re able to display images and show customers other products,” Mahoney said. “In stores, we have iPads that are more kiosk-y, running on the same platform that customers can use to discover what we have in the store in a different way.
“When you walk into the SoHo store, you can get as much or as little help as you want,” Mahoney said. “Sales associates will walk you through with the iPad or you can shop on your own. This commerce solution caters to both audiences really well — those who are new to the consignment world and veterans.”