Trove, which provides resale and trade-in services for fashion brands, has launched its inaugural Brand Resale Index evaluating resale adoption and trends across 40 brands spanning fashion/apparel, outdoor, footwear, and luxury.
The Index, conducted in partnership with OSF Digital, has assessed brands on 147 different criteria across brand positioning, commerce, and trade-in experiences, with a general consideration of how the resale business model potentially contributes to environmental sustainability benefits.
Trove found that out of the 40 brands, outdoor brands are leaning into resale and emerging as leaders, but the big opportunity lies in luxury, as fabled goods are positioned to quickly dominate market share when luxury brands own their resale narrative.
Taking the overall top stop in the Resale Brand Leaderboard is outdoor retailer REI, exhibiting 72 percent of leading practices across brand positioning, commerce, trade-in, and business model integration for its Re/Supply programme that was first introduced online in 2017. In 2021, REI resold more than one million items and has placed Re/Supply into its mainline communications, promoting trade-in and resale as a core benefit to membership.
Outdoor brands are most mature in the resale market, while luxury has the most opportunities to dominate the sector
While outdoor brands are the most mature in the Index, Trove states that fashion/apparel and footwear have grown the most over the past year, with footwear standing out for overcoming the open-box challenge for footwear brands. While fashion/apparel has the highest representation across all categories with 23 brands in the Index, Trove adds that those brands often fall short when meeting leading practices.
Amour Vert’s ‘ReAmour’ was the highest-scoring brand in the fashion and apparel industry with 66 percent, providing a highly integrated shopping experience with single-cart checkout and the ability to earn loyalty credit across new and pre-owned purchases.
Swiss performance brand On led the footwear industry, with 59 percent for its well-designed and efficient ‘Onward’ commerce experience that consolidates size, colour, and condition variants in an interactive and easy-to-use digital experience.
When it comes to the luxury industry, Phillip Lim 3.1 Archive scored the highest with 53 percent for “celebrating the intrinsic value of their pre-owned pieces,” which they bring to life across the digital commerce and selling experience.
REI, On, Phillip Lim 3.1 and Amour Vert leading best practices in resale
Resale is the fastest-growing segment of retail and in 2022, the market for pre-owned goods hit 100 billion US dollars globally, growing at five times the rate of overall commerce. Ellen MacArthur predicts that global resale will double to 250 billion US dollars by 2027 and make up 23 percent of retail sales and brands must look to add their own resale and trade-in service to drive a new era of commerce.
Andy Ruben, founder and executive chairman of Trove, said in a statement: “We are currently at a major inflexion point for branded resale, where early development is meeting commerce evolution. We created the Brand Resale Index to evaluate what brands are doing now, where the opportunities lie for the future, and what industries are positioned to really lean into the next big transformation.
“Brands who scale their owned resale programmes now will be building a profitable business without relying solely on new item production, ultimately helping to build the protective moat around their businesses by extending the life cycle of their products.”
Elevate your brand through resale storytelling
In the report, Trove adds that when brands own their narrative in resale, “everyone wins” and branding a resale programme is a “powerful tool for creating a cohesive story that wins over audiences and optimises the resale journey”.
Out of the companies it analysed 63 percent created specific resale branding to communicate how the programme supports and integrates with the brand mission and values, while 79 percent of brands included links to the resale site in the mainline menu navigation as a sign of brand integration. However, only 28 percent include pre-owned as a subcategory on the mainline site and only 35 percent of brands promoted their resale through social media platforms.
The ways that brands present second-hand items to their customers and integrate this experience with existing commerce channels “will ultimately determine friction within the purchasing journey,” as only 49 percent of brands allow shoppers to filter by product condition, such as the quality of the item’s condition, i.e. like new or used on the category page, despite the product pages including the item’s condition.
In addition, few brands fully integrate new and pre-owned into one shopping experience, with only 25 percent of brands allowing customers to combine purchases of new and pre-owned in the same cart.
Not all resale initiatives are good sustainability programmes
While all 40 brands in the Index touted sustainability as a customer benefit, Trove adds that not all resale programmes are sustainable. Trove noted that determining the degree of sustainability of a resale programme is “complex” and it all comes down to how the business model is set up to shift revenues away from new production.
The clearest way to know if a brand resale programme is truly circular is to examine if the programme has the potential to shift from new product revenue (revenue from selling new items) to existing product revenue (revenue from selling or servicing existing items over a longer product life).
“Brand resale programmes based primarily on new product purchase incentives are a risk for brands that want to tout sustainable claims,” adds Trove in the report. “These programmes likely amount to marketing programmes.”
When it comes to the future of resale, Ruben added: “Brands that lead this shift will benefit and play an outsized role in advancing our relationship with stuff–shifting society from the current “take-make-waste” model to a smarter, less resource-intensive circular model. Ultimately, brands will grow and profit without direct growth in new production.”