American retail giant Walmart is the latest company to leap into the fashion recommerce market by announcing a partnership with thredUP, an eCommerce marketplace for buying and selling consumers second-hand apparel, shoes and accessories.
ThredUP, dubbed the largest online thrift shop, offers thousands of like-new styles from popular, well-known brands at up to 90% off estimated retail price. Thousands of their products will now be available to customers through Walmart’s website.
The Walmart recommerce scheme, which launched last month, marks a significant shift in market demands for reused, second-hand clothing. More and more consumers are choosing sustainable and eco-friendly options when it comes to their shopping habits, which Walmart is now offering to millions of its customers across North America.
So how does the scheme work, what benefits are there for Walmart, and does this show a change in demand for more sustainable recommerce fashion?
How does the Walmart and thredUP recommerce scheme work?
The Walmart recommerce scheme is already live after launching at the end of May. Customers can now log onto Walmart’s eCommerce site and access up to 750,000 pre-owned women’s and children’s clothes, accessories, footwear and handbags provided by thredUP. Brands include both household and designer names such as:
- Banana Republic
- Calvin Klein
- Michael Kors
thredUP has carefully evaluated and selected items for sale based on their overall quality and condition. Walmart is only allowing pre-owned clothes and shoes deemed ‘new’ or ‘like new’ by thredUP on their recommerce site. ‘Gently-used’ accessories and handbags are also available.
Customers get free shipping from the retail giant when they spend 35 dollars or more, and if purchases don’t work out, they can return the items at their nearest store. Walmart is also offering exclusive perks that have not been available to thredUP customers before.
What benefits are there for Walmart engaging in a recommerce scheme?
There are many benefits for Walmart as a result of setting up this recommerce scheme with thredUP. Vice president of planning at TPN Retail, Liz Crawford, has already praised the programme, calling it “one of the best moves Walmart has ever made,” that is “perfect for consumers and the environment” alike.
The thredUP recommerce scheme partnership is allowing Walmart to boost its economical offerings online while getting involved in the rapidly growing sustainability movement. Consumers are not only becoming more eco-conscious but budget-conscious too, especially due to the current economic downturn as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Walmart is expanding its online fashion range at a time when it could grab them more of the market share in clothes and accessories, compared with other brick and mortar retailers.
Since March this year, millions across the globe have taken substantial pay cuts, been furloughed or lost their job altogether. Retailers with little to no online presence have been struggling to stay in business after being closed for the past few months.
Some are reopening, but may only offer delivery pick-up options or have a limit on the amount of foot traffic instore. Major apparel retailers have suffered. J.Crew has filed for bankruptcy protection help, and Nordstrom has had to close some of their stores permanently.
Walmart has been planning their recommerce scheme with thredUP for about a year, but with the current coronavirus pandemic, buying sustainable, yet affordable items has even more relevance.
Is there a shift in market demand for recommerce clothing?
Shopping second-hand is not a new concept, but, it’s clear that over the past few years, there has been heightened scrutiny over the environmental footprint of fashion.
Fashion companies often use vast amounts of resources to produce their clothes, such as oil, to produce man-made fibres, and an endless list of chemicals needed to dye fabric. As a result, they also emit a hefty amount of greenhouse gases per year, contributing massively to global warming.
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the impact their favourite clothes have on the environment, and are therefore embracing recommerce items. Younger generations, especially those who fall under the terms Millennial and Generation Z, are pushing retailers to take extra responsibility for the effect that their business has on the environment.
This has led many retailers to enter the recommerce market, with consumers shopping for and promoting of second-hand or pre-owned items. In recent years, several ethical fashion brands and recommerce sellers, like thredUP, have burst onto the retail fashion scene.
Eyeing the growing sustainability trend, mainstream retailers, like Walmart, have decided to partner with these recommerce companies. Gap, for instance, has partnered with thredUP to encourage customers to mail in their old clothes for donation in exchange for credits to use at stores. Others, like H&M, have launched their own recommerce schemes.
As more and more brick and mortar companies make a move towards sustainability, it’s no surprise that recommerce looks set to become the future of fashion and retail. In thredUP’s 2019 report, the company predicts that the recommerce sector will reach 51 billion dollars within the next five years, overtaking mainstream fashion by 2028.
Only time will tell if their prediction is correct, but there is no denying that there has been a shift in market demand for recommerce clothing. The Walmart and thredUP recommerce scheme is just the latest in a growing number of sustainable retail partnerships.
Further Reading: ReCommerce Loyalty Scheme: Reebok x thredUP. Read More