Style Encore® is the first of Winmark’s apparel resale franchises to develop a robust ecommerce platform to complement its brick-and-mortar model. The brand is building off the success of our two non-apparel franchises, Music Go Round® and Play It Again Sports®.
Music Go Round has had an ecommerce storefront for the past 10 years, owing to the brand’s unique inventory of quality used products that sell at a higher price point than most of the other concepts within Winmark’s portfolio.
In 2019, the Play It Again Sports online store launched, providing franchisees the opportunity to stand out online and get the brand and sports equipment in front of digital shoppers.
Now, Style Encore franchisees are poised to capitalize on having a robust ecommerce presence, building brand recognition while generating greater online and in-store traffic.
Adapting to a Smarter Shopper
When smartphones adoption took off in the 2010s in the U.S., consumer behavior rapidly changed. Showrooming put pressure on the traditional retail model. Shoppers would visit a brick-and-mortar retailer, find a product they want, search for it online on their mobile device and then purchase it.
This new reality motivated retailers to not only develop an ecommerce presence to compete against the likes of Amazon and other online marketplaces but also offer in-store pickup for items purchased online. Additionally, retail brands have differentiated themselves in an increasingly competitive market by offering products that only can be found in stores.
As a brand, Style Encore has been able to come out of the gates in a competitive position because of our resale model’s traditional unique features:
- Providing consumers the opportunity to sell their gently used items and be paid for them on the spot.
- Stocking a vast array of products and brands, ranging from Old Navy® apparel to Gucci® or Louis Vuitton® handbags and accessories.
- Offering discounts up to 90 percent off regular retail prices.
- Providing customers the opportunity to create a wardrobe that’s unique to their specific style and needs.
- Creating a more environmentally friendly way to shop.
Since Style Encore launched as a franchise in 2013, the brand has grown to more than 60 units across the U.S. and Canada. We recognized creating an ecommerce storefront accessible to all franchisees and their customers would help usher in the next phase of growth.
How Ecommerce Benefits Style Encore Franchisees
Our top priority when it comes to our ecommerce strategy is driving consumers who are searching for products online into a local Style Encore store.
To put franchisees in the best position for growth, it’s increasingly important to be visible wherever consumers are, particularly when they’re hunting for a specific item. As of 2019, 81 percent of retail shoppers research products online before making a purchase.
While consumers are apt to begin their search for the perfect item online, the vast majority of shoppers still make their purchases in a traditional retail space. In fact, ecommerce made up 16 percent of total retail sales in the U.S. in 2019.
As we built the Style Encore online store, we designed it with both of these factors in mind. The products that are sold to individual stores are automatically uploaded to the inventory management system, and franchisees can decide which items they want to make available through the ecommerce site. The franchisee can then provide a high-quality image and unique, compelling product description for the items they wish to sell online.
All participating stores have their items pooled into the online store, allowing consumers the opportunity to shop for every available product across the system of Style Encore stores. Shoppers can filter the selection by ZIP code to find items nearby or elect to have their selection shipped to them. If the purchase is made online, the store with the item in its inventory is credited with the sale.
As opposed to a traditional ecommerce model that provides customers with an online catalog that changes based on seasonality, the Style Encore online store is continuously updated.
The resulting experience for consumers mirrors what they encounter in a physical store in being able to discover unique finds. For franchisees, they’re able to expose the brand to a wider shopping audience and motivate consumers to visit their locations to make a purchase.
Learn More about the Style Encore Franchise Opportunity
Are you passionate about women's fashion and looking for a franchise opportunity finely tuned for long-term success? Download our free franchise report to learn more about the Style Encore brand!