Today’s generations of consumers—particularly Millennials and Gen Zers—are purchasing used “trendy” items and finding value in giving them a second life. Gone are the days in which we purchased clothes, wore them a few times, left them in our closets, and eventually donated them. There’s now a new network of channels and mediums through which buyers can get hot items secondhand, or even rent high-end clothing and accessories for a single use. 

Thrift and consignment are leading the way not just in what they offer, but the statement that purchasing from these stores makes. The long-lasting repercussions of the retail industry on the environment are weighing heavily on generations that are seeking to reduce their carbon footprint, leading shoppers to opt for alternatives that contribute to a more sustainable future. As a result, not only are consumers finding different outlets, but companies are also leveraging opportunity in fulfilling the needs of this new-age consumer in an apparel resale industry that’s expected to grow to $51 billion in the next five years.

One example is ThredUp, the self-proclaimed “largest online consignment and thrift store.” The secondhand giant features more than 35,000 brands on a website that displays new items with every browser refresh. What does this equate to? Endless possibilities for today’s modern-day, conscientious shoppers.

Then there’s Rent the Runway, which was born out of “department stores’ worst customers” who would purchase high-end clothing only to return it after a single use. Their model focuses on renting out designer clothing and accessories for people who don’t want to invest in something permanently, because let’s be honest—how many times can you wear the same gala gown?

Recently, we’ve discussed the need for retailers to minimize their physical store presence in order to stay afloat due to the growth of ecommerce (read more about that here). So, what do all these rental opportunities and secondhand options mean to traditional retailers? Is it the end of the road? On the contrary.

The secondary market offers them an outlet to offload their returned and excess goods, so they can offset more loss. Nine out of the top 10 U.S. retailers use B-Stock’s online auction B2B marketplace platform to sell returned, excess, and other liquidation inventory directly to a large network of vetted secondary market business buyers. Not only does this drive competition and boost pricing of the inventory, it also creates a new sales channel to ensure merchandise is repurposed and reused (versus landfilled)—which is something we can all get behind. 

To learn how we can create a B2B sales channel for your returned, excess, or other liquidation inventory, request a demo!  

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