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Retail’s sustainable resell-ution

Shopping for second-hand clothes has come a long way from scouring charity shops and car boot sales for hidden treasures. Platforms like Shpock and Facebook Marketplace have made buying used goods easier – and more popular – than ever. The clothing resale market alone is expected to reach $64 million by 2025, driven by a growing number of consumers trying to buy less ‘new’ clothing.

Consumers are leading the way when it comes to reselling and buying second-hand, but what about retailers? Until recently, high-end brands have been reluctant to endorse resales, with some even choosing to set fire to their own merchandise rather than sell it on to outlet stores.

However, as consumers place more value on sustainability and buying second-hand becomes more commonplace, retail brands are starting to capitalise on their resale potential. From Selfridges’ permanent resale service to Ikea’s take-back scheme, this year has seen innovative resale initiatives from all kinds of retailers – here’s our round-up of the best.

Resellfridges

After the success of the Selfidges X Depop pop-up last summer, Selfridges has launched a permanent resale service, allowing customers to buy and sell pre-loved items online and in store.

With higher prices than traditional second-hand shops (£95 for a pair of Levi’s shorts, for example), the initiative clearly isn’t aimed at seasoned vintage shoppers. Instead, it’s the perfect way for shoppers to dip their toe into the world of pre-loved clothing – everything is shot beautifully and there’s a 28-day return policy.

Although, with Prada handbags at £730, there are still bargains to be had if you’re the kind of shopper willing to pay full price for a new one.

Selfridges

C2C from Cos

Last month Cos unveiled its new consumer-to-consumer platform, Resell. It’s similar to other resale marketplaces like Vinted and Shpock, except Resell is exclusively for Cos pieces and the brand takes 10% commission.

It’s an easy way for the brand to profit from its own resale-ability (which we predict will soon become a major factor in customer decision making), and it gives customers the confidence of shopping on a regulated platform.

Ikea take-backs

Next month on 27 November (which just so happens to be Black Friday), Ikea is launching a take-back scheme in 27 countries. With the Buy Back scheme, customers will be able to sell unwanted Ikea furniture in exchange for vouchers worth up to half the original price, depending on the condition. Ikea will then refurbish the furniture for resale, or recycle pieces that can’t be resold.

It’s a shrewd move from the retailer with a reputation for ‘disposable furniture’. Renters and first home buyers will always need cheap interim furniture and Ikea’s Buy Back scheme means that this practice doesn’t have to be bad for the environment.

Pre-loved Levi’s

Earlier this month, Levi’s launched its SecondHand site, which will allow customers to buy second-hand denim directly from the brand. They’ll be working with Trove, a company that looks after returns and resales for retailers.

It’s been widely publicised that denim is one of the most polluting textiles and this initiative is a game-changer for consumers wanting to shop more sustainably. Levi’s fans can now get second-hand jeans in the exact style, size and wash they want, instead of hoping to chance upon the perfect pair while vintage shopping.

Levi's

Circular consumerism

The growing resale market is good news for the environment, retailers and consumers. Retail brands can explore new revenue streams and improve their sustainability credentials, while consumers can enjoy a cheaper, more sustainable way to shop.

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