Resale clothing franchise owners are front and center in a movement that’s disrupting the apparel market.
The resale apparel industry is expected to grow 11 percent every year from now until at least 2021 – rising from an $18 billion valuation to $33 billion. Meanwhile, the broader apparel industry is forecasting a more somber growth rate – McKinsey & Co. expects the footwear and apparel industry to grow between only 1 to 2 percent in 2018.
An increasing number of consumers – especially younger demographics – are thinking carefully about the environmental impact of their shopping habits. At the same time, millennials and Generation Z actively consider the resale value of clothes when buying a new apparel item.
Resale apparel franchise concepts like Plato’s Closet® and Style Encore® have built a business model singularly in tune with this shifting consumer behavior – both franchise concepts enable customers to buy and sell gently used apparel at their locations.
Currently, roughly half of customers do both transactions, according to Renae Gaudette, vice president of franchising at Winmark®.
So, with rising consumer demand for resale apparel and a business model that supports an efficient buy-and-sell system, Plato’s Closet and Style Encore franchisees have a huge opportunity to convert another 50 percent of their buyers into sellers.
Gaudette highlighted three core strategies that cultivate a strong mix of buying and selling among customers of Winmark franchise brands:
1. In-Store Marketing
Half the battle in converting buyers into sellers is awareness.
“Most customers are unaware of the fact that we buy their gently used goods,” Gaudette said.
The majority of customers know the value they get by shopping at Plato’s Closet and Style Encore for brand-name apparel, but they don’t recognize how the resale franchises keep the latest trends in stock.
In-store messaging should emphasize the option that all Winmark brands, including Once Upon A Child®, Music Go Round® and Play It Again Sports®, pay customers cash on the spot for their items. Through in-store signage and interactions with staff, every customer should leave the stores knowing they have the opportunity to sell back their goods.
2. Social Media Marketing
Resale apparel franchise owners have a significant opportunity to leverage digital habits that consumers in their target demographics have adopted. Generation Xers spend roughly seven hours per week on social media, and millennials spend just above six hours per week doing the same, according to a Nielsen report.
Gaudette emphasized the importance of franchisees using social channels, like Facebook and Instagram, to promote that they buy gently used apparel from customers. At the same time, another key tactic to drive in-store sales is to highlight in-demand products currently for sale in stores.
With Facebook, which owns Instagram, franchise owners have the opportunity to target their posts and ads at specific audiences on the social media channel. Facebook’s ad platform allows businesses to target by city, state or country, as well as by income, interest and behaviors. There’s also a feature that enables business owners to upload a list of their current customers to target with ads that show up in their news feeds. As a result, resale apparel franchise owners can get their messaging in front of an audience with the greatest intent to act.
3. Customer Experience and Service Strategy
Once customers walk through the front door, resale franchise owners have the greatest opportunity to convert buyers into sellers.
“It’s critical that franchisees implement a targeted customer experience and service strategy that fully integrates our competitive difference,” Gaudette explained.
The concept of buying and selling gently used goods is ingrained in the mission statement and training programs for all of the Winmark franchise brands. The top-performing franchisees make it a point to ensure their staff understands and honors this core aspect of the franchise model.
Whether it be helping customers find the right product in store aisles or when they are paying for their items at the checkout counter, employees have a variety of opportunities to promote the fact that shoppers can bring in their gently used items in exchange for cash.
Why Resale Franchise Owners Should Make Buyer-to-Seller Conversions a Priority
When franchisees convert buyers into sellers – and vice versa – they’re able to demonstrate an added level of convenience and value to customers’ shopping experiences. Business owners also reap financial rewards from this dual transaction system.
When customers both buy and sell their goods at stores like Plato’s Closet and Style Encore, they tend to be more loyal patrons than individuals just looking to make a purchase. In turn, in-store traffic typically increases, and those bringing their goods to sell often end up buying apparel or other goods in the same trip.
The impact on the environment is also noteworthy.
“Last year, our franchisees bought over $1 billion worth of products that did not end up in landfills, and that continues to grow,” Gaudette said. “We’re very proud of that because it helps our communities, and it also helps our franchisees in building their small businesses.”
To learn more about becoming part of the $18 billion resale apparel industry, check out the franchising opportunities with Plato’s Closet and Style Encore.