Should Brands Be Driving Resale?

As consumers adjusted to the pandemic in different ways, leaning heavily on digital shopping channels, opening the door for rapid growth in consumer behaviors.

In addition to nearly all discoverability happening online, especially through social media, one trend that emerged early on was a revitalized interest in the resale market. According to Dan Wallace-Brewster, senior vice president of marketing at Scalefast, there is also an element of discovery of the discovery marketplace or the “thrill of the hunt.”

“During the pandemic, consumers were starved for stimulation so it seems natural that they would embrace resale while the malls were closed, particularly as brands are legitimizing and even providing the platform for the exchange,” Wallace-Brewster said. “There is certainly the selfie and street-couture culture that propelled a market for hot resale items like Air Jordan’s or a Supreme hoodie. Now legacy brands are seeing the opportunity and embracing the secondary market, broadening the demographics beyond the caricature of a vintage reseller stalking estate sales for items to flip on eBay.”

While there are several driving forces behind the resale market today, the evolution of technology has made it easy to safely transact also accelerating a blockchain future that will make it easier to authenticate rare or luxury items. Notably, Scalefast’s solutions include a variety of different digital concepts for luxury brands to specialize in direct-to-consumer experiences including product drops, outlet sales and resale market, each with distinctive requirements and bespoke options as the resale market continues to grow.

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Dan Wallace-Brewster, senior vice president of marketing at Scalefast. Courtesy Image.

For legacy luxury brands, Wallace-Brewster told WWD there are many reasons to take control of the resale channel. Most importantly, he said, by taking control of the resale channel a brand takes back ownership of customer data and the relationship.

“Luxury brands have been slow to embrace digital direct-to-consumer channels for a variety of reasons,” Wallace-Brewster said. “While doing so, online players inside and outside of retail propelled a data-economy that transcended goods and services. [The consumer] and what we knew about them [has become] the real product and 110-year-old brands were having to buy data from relative newcomers at a premium. They had lost control of their greatest asset, their customer, and worse, the [social media sites] were profiting off their brand’s association with those customers.”

Further, Wallace-Brewster said, luxury brands have been built on quality and exclusivity, but “modern marketplaces provided individual sellers of substandard or counterfeit products a direct pipeline to luxury customers, saturating supply and diluting value” — making it even more important for brands to gain control of resale to maintain standards of quality while crushing counterfeiters by creating a safe space to guarantee customers were purchasing authentic products.

At the same time, when a brand owns the resale market of its products they are able to own the consumer relationship in its entirety — from aspiring consumers purchasing pre-owned items to frequent shoppers.

“Too many legacy brands were seeing the average age of their customer going in the wrong direction,” Wallace-Brewster said. “The resale channel allows brands to introduce new aspirational customers to the luxury experience, which increases cumulative lifetime value by simultaneously broadening the pool of customers and lengthening the time that they will be with you.”

And by owning the lifetime consumer relationship, brands are also able to enable more sustainable practices by understanding a product’s full life cycle.

“Properly managed, a direct relationship with customers informs every aspect of a brand’s organization,” Wallace-Brewster said. “Effective data workflows go way beyond personalizing marketing to the product development stages where the interactions with customers today can help align design and production quantity for the next season.”

Moreover, he said, closing that data gap can also help enable just-in-time manufacturing that shortens supply chains, producing and finishing more product locally, whereas misalignment leads to overproduction, excessive transfers of inventory and waste at the beginning and end of the product life cycle — ultimately contributing to fashion’s less-than-stellar environmental record.

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