What Impact Does E-Commerce Have on the Resale Industry?

Resale is the next big thing for the clothing retail industry. Environmental concerns and value-conscious shopping are driving many consumers away from traditional clothing retailers and toward resale vendors. The resale clothing market is expected to grow 13 percent annually, hitting $33 billion by 2021.

Part of this huge growth comes from e-commerce resale sites and apps, or “re-commerce.” These companies allow users to buy and sell pre-worn clothes and accessories, either peer-to-peer or by consignment.

So, what does that mean for brick-and-mortar resale clothing vendors, like Plato’s Closet®, Style Encore® and Once Upon A Child®? Will re-commerce erode consumers’ interest in visiting resale stores?

The short answer is: no.

Brick-and-mortar resale stores continue to see strong growth, even after the appearance of re-commerce platforms. In fact, Plato’s Closet, Once Upon A Child and Style Encore opened 43 new stores in 2017, and Plato’s Closet jumped 54 places in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 ranking. This strong growth makes sense, given that 85 percent of clothing is still purchased in-store, and these shoppers are a valuable subset to capture.

Unlike the online competitors, Winmark brands have been serving these customers for more than 20 years. We’ve built relationships with individuals and communities, fine-tuned our business model and cemented our reputation as a leader in the clothing resale industry. As interest in resale grows, Winmark will continue to expand and connect with new customers.

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The Benefits of Brick and Mortar

Consumers turn to re-commerce for its simplicity and convenience. Digging through disorganized thrift stores is time-consuming – you have to sift through a lot of bad before you find any good.

Winmark brand resale stores fulfill this same need. It’s up to the staff – not the customer - to thoroughly vet all items that sellers bring in, weeding out anything that’s out of style or in poor condition. They’re trained to select only the pieces customers would really want. Then, they display the items just like a traditional retail store.

This way, customers have easy and convenient access to the best parts of resale shopping:

  • Discount prices
  • On-trend, brand-name items
  • The fun of hunting for unique pieces or great deals
  • No outdated clothing to sift through
  • No messy or disorganized inventory
  • No shipping costs
  • Cash on the spot for items sold
  • No mystery about brand authenticity or item’s condition

Re-commerce might may meet the needs of a specific subset of shoppers, but the majority of customers still prefer to try things on, confirm the clothes’ condition and avoid shipping costs. The chance to see and touch an item before buying – as well as the ability to take the item home right away – are the main reasons consumers largely choose to shop in stores rather than online. Winmark gives customers an exceptional in-store experience, offering the perfect blend of savings, quality and convenience. That gives us a competitive edge over both traditional resale stores and re-commerce vendors.

To learn more about franchise opportunities in a rapidly growing industry, fill out the free Winmark franchise form.

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