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Consignment Startups Like Tradesy Could Help Retailers Close The Loop On Product Lifecycles

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With a good enough premise, a fashion startup can build a community of thousands, all obsessing over the pieces that they want or need in their closets (it’s basically the same). That in turns means that they’re aggregating tons of data about how and when people are buying. You see where we’re going with this.

There are a lot of fashion startups that have realized how valuable that data is, not only to themselves, but also to the brands their users are coveting.

Tradesy, a site that functions as an online consignment shop, gets that, and they’re gathering data on brand preferences, style, sizing, and frequency of making purchases and selling. This last point means knowing how quickly people tire of particular products, and who the secondary customer is.

At the moment, Tradesy is only using that data for curation and personalization purposes in a shopper’s product feed. Partnering with brands is on the horizon, CEO and founder Tracy DiNunzio said, but it’s not happening just yet.

“Retailers can benefit from having a relationship with the secondary markets for their goods in many ways, such as price-tracking, establishing relationships with entry-level customers who don’t enter retail stores, and even streamlining production based on the data we can provide,” DiNunzio said.

While DiNunzio said that it’s difficult to characterize trends across the entire site because there is so much variability across brands and categories, small data points can still be useful.

As an example, DiNunzio pointed to crossbody bags by Rebecca Minkoff, which retain a relatively high resale value but show a high churn rate, being listed on Tradesy less than six months after hitting retail stores.

“It could be seen as contradictory — these are obviously highly sought-after products, yet they have a shorter-than-typical lifespan in a woman’s closet. We don’t try to guess at the meaning, we just [think] about what the brands and retailers themselves might be able to do with the data, and it’s very promising,” DiNunzio said.

One year out of the gate, the startup is also couching itself less as a clothing swap site and more as a true ecommerce site. The site design alone speaks to that: rather than making it look like a marketplace by highlighting individual garments or sellers, the home page looks like any other retail site, with a menu of product categories and thematic stories. Plus, the site’s styling suggests good product, which in turn will encourage people to sell truly good product, a stumbling block for other fashion resale ventures.

Their community now stands at 600,000 members, which the team reports is growing 10% week over week.

[Image from Tradesy]