Everything Old is New Again: The Rise of the Resale Marketplace


Everything Old is New Again: The Rise of the Resale Marketplace

Oct 08, 2019 / By Danny Saba

The resale marketplace is looking like the retail industry’s ‘new black’.

But we’re not talking about conventional ecommerce marketplaces like eBay, Groupon (does anybody still use that?), or Facebook Marketplace. The new resale marketplaces are part reaction to unsustainable manufacturing processes, part our horrendous carbon footprint and the fact we love iconic labels at a discount – who cares if they’ve been preloved? These new startups and their business models offer consumers more ways to make money by recycling their stuff and updating their wardrobes at much lower pricepoints - and giving traditional brick and mortar retailers even more headaches and heartburn.

Pre-owned, refurbished, repaired or rented. It’s all available online and at a fraction of full retail. In fact, the resale market could well be bigger than fast fashion in just 10 years (sorry Forever 21, it was great while it lasted), some sources suggest.

Because we’re curious people at ThinkInk and want to be in the know about everything impacting our clients’ business, we’ve explored what’s behind the resurgence and how technology companies supplying the retail sector, as well as retailers themselves, should prepare.

The Rental Revolution Enters Retail

Like the disruptive forces changing how we think about purchasing cars, houses, music and movies, fashion’s future could spell the end of ownership. That’s if the resale segment’s explosive growth is anything to go by.

While this latest shift in consumption behavior is fueled by many factors, here are just a few:

  • Political and economic uncertainty; 42% of global fashion executives expect industry conditions to worsen by the end of 2019.
  • Consumer desires are changing; Millennials and Gen Z consumers value variety, sustainability and affordability when it comes to material possessions.
  • Growing acknowledgement (by all generations) that our current manufacturing processes are contributing to climate change and leaving a large carbon footprint on our planet.

This latest retail trend isn’t just a fleeting style change, however. Unlike the Living Social and Groupon era, we’re in the midst of a fundamental change in consumer behaviors that aren’t likely to reverse anytime soon.

What does this mean for technology companies working in the broader retail sector?

 Fashion is still fast, keep a pulse on consumer behavior

The retail industry is fast moving, even if consumers are consuming less ‘fast fashion’. Tastes may change but retailers’ need to focus on the customer won’t. With so much competition and uncertainty, that’s never been more important for retailers. Technology companies that can help retailers better identify their core consumers and track their behaviors over time will be sought after. Some technology companies already have marketing solutions or platforms as part of their product offering designed to do just that. Others could invest in independent research to help retailers fill in the blanks.

Dress to impress current and future customers

In the highly competitive fashion industry, retailers will need new ways to stand out from the crowd. There are a variety of ways to achieve this, of course. Physical stores can be enhanced with digital elements like AR or VR activations. Or click and collect services could be implemented to offer faster and more convenient payment options. Whatever the solution, technology companies that can help retailers keep brands top of mind will be the ‘it’ thing this season.

Marketing has never looked this good

Ultimately, when industries become more competitive or evolve to make way for new entrants, it’s companies who invest in marketing that stand out. Retailers will want to work with marketers (the very smart ones!), who can help them tap into their customers’ psyche with the right message and value proposition at the right time. This could involve, perhaps, moving away from flyers toward delivering more personalized offers for customers’ favourite clothing items to their mobile phones. That’s why technology companies, especially those who specialize in mobile technology, will be all the rage.

The rise of the resale marketplace makes one thing clear; it’s that, actually, technology is the retail industry’s perpetual ‘new black’. In the era of the conscious consumer, technology’s role is even more critical to help retailers understand who their consumers are and what they need – and then help them deliver on that need.

Are you a technology company that works with retail clients?

Make sure you’re best placed to navigate this new era driven by the conscious consumer. After all, we wouldn’t want you or your clients to be… dare we say it… so 2000 and late.

Want to stay in the know? We’d love to talk.



Danny Saba

Danny Saba
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