With Re/Supply, REI is the best-performing brand in resale.
More than 100 brands have stormed into the circular-fashion trend in the last year, usually with noisy press announcements about their commitment to befriend the planet with used clothes. Turns out some are much better at it than others. Trove, which builds resale platforms, has just released its first ranking. It finds that REI is the best performing overall, with Patagonia ranking best in brand positioning of resale.
Arc'teryx leads in outdoor; Amour Vert in fashion/apparel; On Running in footwear, and Phillip Lim in luxury.
Resale is a brand-building tool, and for names like REI and Patagonia, it also reinforces a company's sustainability promises. It's also a potential growth engine, allowing companies to build profitable revenue streams without relying solely on new item production.
Because of their already strong links to environmental messaging, outdoor brands are emerging as leaders of the category. But the biggest opportunities lie in luxury, says Andy Ruben, founder and executive chairman of Trove.
"Resale is an opportunity for brands to tell their own story. When a Gucci item is sold on the RealReal, Gucci does not get to be involved -- not in merchandising or pricing. So if the RealReal, Neiman Marcus or Fashionphile decides they'll mark all Gucci items down at the end of the quarter, they have no say," he tells Marketing Daily. "It's very important for those who care about brand equity to have their own voice."
The resale market is estimated at $100 billion today and growing at about five times the rate of retail. Experts predict it will account for 23% of all retail in 2030.
Ruben believes re-commerce is at the point now that ecommerce was more than 20 years ago. "In the late '90s, ecommerce was a marketing thing you had to do to let people know where to find stores. Over time, people realized that ecommerce made sense -- we could find more things and more value."
Resale is at a similar place. "It's viewed as something you've got to do because everyone's doing it," Ruben says. "But the brands that get it see it as a way to better serve customers."
He says one of the takeaways from the index is just how varied the approach can be. "You've got brands like REI, building it into the brand itself. And then you've got brands that are basically doing six media stories and selling three items."
It's also similar to ecommerce, he says, in that this is a consumer-driven shift. "Brands don't get to control the customer shift. They just get to decide how they will stay relevant as we all change how we shop."
Trove ranked 40 brands, assessing them on 147 criteria, diving into brand positioning, commerce and trade-in experiences. To keep the benchmark study objective and brand-agnostic, it worked with OSF Digital, a global commerce company.