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Why should my brand care about resale and sustainability?

Updated: Sep 21

In a world where trends change faster than you can say ‘couture’, the fashion industry has been both a marvel of creativity and a notorious contributor to a host of environmental issues. However, a breath of fresh, sustainable air has been sweeping through the fashion landscape, and it goes by the name of resale.

In this resource, we delve into the revolutionary movement of fashion resale and explore why forward-thinking brands have wholeheartedly embraced it. From circularising the economy to gaining new customers and nurturing existing loyalty, the benefits are as numerous as the stylish outfits waiting to find new homes. We hope you enjoy this journey through the transformative world of fashion resale and discover why it's not just a trend but a sustainable imperative here to stay.

Why should your brand care about resale and sustainability? Here are some of the most impactful benefits being experienced by brands with resale initiatives today.

Gain new customers

Out of the top reasons why brands wanted to get into resale, ‘acquire more customers’ was number one. So it feels right to explore this area first. It’s a broad area with many benefits so let’s visit a few of the main ones.

Appeal to a younger audience

With nearly two thirds of Gen Z and Millennials saying their wardrobe contributes to climate change, consumers are seeking brands who are promoting sustainability. Empowering your consumers to resell their items speaks to your customers' changing mindset. An incredible 75% of Millennials say that they consider sustainability when they make a purchase.

Tapping into that younger audience

Another key element of resale is the consumer demographic resale attracts. Gen Z and Millennials may or may not be your largest target demographic, but they soon will be. Tapping into resale, means tapping into this demographic. Gen Z and Millennials benefit from the reduced prices, so it’s an ideal way of attracting a younger consumer base who perhaps cannot yet afford your products at full price.

Younger generations (Gen Z, Gen X, Millennials & Baby Boomers) are expected to account for nearly two-thirds of incremental second hand spend.

Brand discoverability

Brand discoverability has become a huge aspect of resale apps. In fact, out of the top 5 consumer resale spend motivators, ‘choice’ was third. Consumers spend hours just browsing resale apps, finding new brands and deriving inspiration. Being directly connected to a resale marketplace means you’re increasing brand discoverability.

Marketing with a new angle

Resale is an incredible sustainability initiative, and if done properly, there is no doubt it contributes towards a reduction in carbon emissions. Your brand should feel empowered to shout about it from the rooftops.

At Continue, we work with our brand partners to create their resale marketing campaigns, including joint-PR campaigns, award submissions, social media marketing, utilising Continue’s resale widget for your product page, email newsletters etc.

Which resale benefit matters most to you?

  • Gain new customers

  • Our customers want it

  • Sustainability

  • Increase revenue

Your customers want it

Today’s most successful brands are customer-centric, constantly listening to their customers and adjusting their offering based on feedback.

It can be difficult to understand every aspect of what your customers are thinking, wanting & desiring, but when it comes to resale, we’re here to help. Here’s the current landscape of what consumers are doing regarding buying and selling preloved fashion.

What has happened

The UK’s fashion resale market has grown 149% from 2016 to 2022, with over 63% of Britons claiming to have bought second hand pieces. Clothing is the most commonly bought category in all of the second hand categories.

What is forecast to happen

The global secondhand market is expected to grow 3x faster on average than the global apparel market overall and will be worth £283 billion by 2027. Next year, a whopping 10% of the global apparel market is expected to be made up of second hand clothing, and this market share is forecast to increase.

It’s clear from the data that consumers' attitudes towards resale are changing. Resale is no longer a ‘trend’ but an established market in the wider fashion industry.

Sustainability & environment

Out of the top reasons why brands want to get into resale, ‘be more sustainable’ was number two. Out of the top benefits experienced by brands with resale initiatives, ‘increased sustainability’ was number one. So let’s explore this area.

Despite this point being probably the most obvious reason to engage resale, the statistics are still incredibly shocking.

  • 10,000 items of clothing are sent to landfill…every 5 minutes.

  • The UK is the world's second biggest exporter of used clothing.

  • In the UK alone, there is over £43 billion worth of unused and unwanted clothing in consumer wardrobes.

  • The fashion industry emits more CO2 than air and sea travel combined and is expected to rise 50% by 2030.

The way we’ve been ‘doing business’ is clearly unsustainable, and as more consumers have become aware of this, they have started to change their behaviours and attitudes. 87% of consumers want brands to encourage future sustainability.

Buying and wearing second hand clothing instead of new reduces carbon emissions by an average of 25%. At scale you can appreciate how much of a difference that makes.

Increase revenue

‘Drive revenue’ came third in the top reasons why brands want to get into resale, and it came in at number two out of the top benefits brands with resale initiatives experienced.

To reiterate the section your customers want it and perhaps more bluntly, your customers are buying and selling your brand’s preloved products regardless of your participation. Last year fashion resale was valued at £141 billion. In other words, not engaging resale means you’re missing out on a massive, untapped market.

In order to understand the value that can be generated from resale, a shift of mindset is required. Current business models see brands producing products, selling each piece once, and therefore, deriving revenue from that single sale. This is non-recurring revenue. Empowering consumers to resell their pieces, means brands benefit not just from the first sale, but every resale of a product thereafter. Now every product produces recurring-revenue. And when we appreciate that by 2027 resale is forecast to reach £283 billion, the true scale of the opportunity becomes apparent.

Continue enables your brand to earn commission every time your product resells, meaning you’re now earning recurring revenue from a single product.

Brand loyalty & protecting your future

‘Increased brand loyalty’ came third in the top benefits that brands with resale initiatives reported.

A shifting consumer mindset is happening, and it’s happening quicker than ever before. Only ten years ago, the sustainability of a brand was barely a consideration when consumers made a purchase. Now, however, nearly half of Gen Z refuse to buy from non-sustainable fashion brands. This coupled with the fact that 83% of Gen Z have, or are considering shopping preloved items means that brands who don’t engage in resale are falling behind.

If we consider that 82% of Gen Z consider the resale value of an item before purchasing, it’s clear that empowering consumers to resell their items has now become a necessary strategy for survival and growth.

Brand image

You spend vast amounts of time, effort and money curating a wonderful brand image and user experience pre-purchase. However, as we’ve seen, the rapidly growing resale market means there is another area where your brand is being represented, post-purchase.

What is post purchase? Well put simply, anything that happens to your products once your customer has purchased and received it. In this case, we’re particularly interested in how your brand is being represented on the resale market.

At the moment, your customers have taken it upon themselves to represent your brand. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the problem is, most customers don’t have experience creating beautiful brand imagery and copy. Just take a look at the handful of resale apps and you’ll see. As we’ve seen, brand discoverability on these apps is a huge focal point, so controlling your brand’s resale image is now almost as important as the pre-purchase stage.

Luckily, advancements in technology are making this very easy for brands to accomplish this. For example Continue digitises purchases from your brand and adds them to customers’ Continue Wardrobes. Now when they resell these items, they use the data (brand images, titles, descriptions etc). that you provide. A great time-saving experience for your customer and a way for you to control your brand’s image.

It’s easy to do

With cutting edge e-commerce technology being developed by companies, it has become very easy for brands to provide resale services.

Continue has been in development since late 2021. One of the key engineering goals of the product was to make integration as seamless as possible. It now takes brands just 10 minutes to integrate the service.

It’s cost-effective

Check out our resource on the different types of marketplaces. Different resale services carry different fees. From integration & setup fees to ongoing subscriptions.

We are a purpose-driven organisation and firmly believe that sustainability initiatives should be inclusive and accessible to all brands, regardless of size. That’s why we’ve created a fair pricing policy.

Legislation is changing

Legislation is being drawn up all over the world to hold fashion brands accountable. From the Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act being drawn up in New York to the EU’s sustainable fashion legislation, it’s clear that governments are stepping in to curb the industry’s carbon emissions. Putting services in place now ensures your brand is prepared for when the legislation comes into force.

Sources: GlobalData, ThredUp, Statista, McKinsey & Co, Green Story Inc.

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