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Concepts Driving Global Resale Forward: BikeFlip, Circle Closet, Patagonia Worn Wear, and ZARA Pre-Owned

McMillanDoolittle recently released our 19th edition of Retail Innovations, an annual examination of the year’s most compelling themes driving change in global retail through cutting-edge concepts. For our second #ThemeThursday, we are featuring four retailers that have launched circular business models – falling under one of the three key thematic sections for the year – A Better World.

No Slowdown in Sight for Resale

At McMillanDoolittle, we’ve tracked the second-hand market for many years and observed remarkable resonance particularly in the last few years (See: Nike and Lululemon Dive Into the Booming Resale Market and The Sustained Renaissance in Resale). Due to numerous factors, such as changing consumer preferences, environmental concerns, technological advancement, and inflationary budget constraints, the resale market has emerged as a bright spot that continues to thrive in many global markets.  Resale platform ThredUp estimates that by 2027, the global second-hand apparel market will nearly double, reaching $350 billion, and representing growth outpacing the overall global apparel market by three times. Within second-hand, online resale is the fastest-growing channel, with environmentally engaged and budget-conscious Gen Z consumers recognized for driving consumption patterns. ThredUp reports that 40% of Gen Z’s closets already include secondhand items.

Today’s Innovators Employ Circular Models that Go Beyond a Low-Price Proposition

The following concepts featured in Retail Innovations 2024 tap into the growing demand for resale transactions while prioritizing sustainability, a seamless experience for both buyers and sellers, and active community engagement. Consumers are not only deal-seeking in their resale shopping and selling behaviors today; they increasingly seek differentiated products as well as convenient and meaningful experiences.

BikeFlip: Subscription-Based, Community-Centered Cycling Company Refurbishes and Redeploys Children’s Bikes. The Netherlands has a whopping 1.4 bikes per person, with people of all ages relying on bikes for their main transportation. BikeFlip works to keep bikes in use longer by providing custom bikes on a pay-by-month basis. Subscribers can exchange their bike when it no longer serves their needs or whenever they need to flip to a larger size for their growing kids.

  • Branded concept store to drive discovery, receive service, trial available bikes. BikeFlip’s new concept store in Amsterdam allows consumers to discover the benefits of the subscription model for the consumer and for the planet, to test ride bikes, and to receive expert advice on the best size and type of bike for their family.
  • Flexible and trustworthy service and on-demand technical repairs. BikeFlip offers free repair and delivery services within 48 hours, recognizing the importance of service and support for pre-owned goods.
  • Accredited learning center. BikeFlip employs handy people who are looking to re-enter the workforce, aiding both in-need individuals and the Netherland’s diminishing skilled personnel population in technology and craftsmanship. Volunteers and interested college students also work with BikeFlip to repair the bikes.
child on bicycle and bike repairs

Image Credit: BikeFlip

Circle Closet: Eco-Chic Rental and Lending Platform for the Fashion Forward and Environmentally Conscious Consumer. Circle Closet is a lending platform for designer clothing, shoes, and accessories for special occasions. Their sustainable business model targets price-conscious, aspirational consumers by curating on-trend products at a fraction of the original price and offering a revenue stream to savvy owners to lend out their designer closets.

  • Addresses issue of wardrobe utilization. Circle Closet finds that women only wear 29% of their clothes, and their platform seeks to address this lack of utilization by giving lenders the opportunity to monetize their luxury, investment pieces. Circle Closet provides rent options for 4, 14, or 30 days.
  • Community-driven circular economy. Circle Closet aims to create a space where fashion becomes a shared resource through their renting and lending platform.
woman with designer handbag

Image Source: Circle Closet

Patagonia Worn Wear: An Evolving, Best-in-Class Omnichannel Platform to Prolong the Life of Outdoor Gear. Patagonia is a pioneer in establishing a branded resale platform, having launched Worn Wear in 2013 as a top-tier resale channel aimed at prolonging the life of Patagonia products by refurbishing and reselling used items. As C2C digital resale platforms continue to gain popularity, Worn Wear allows Patagonia to control their resale experience by offering great trade-in value and service to customers engendering lifetime customer loyalty.

  • Seamless trade-in experience at dedicated brick-and-mortar location. In 2022, Patagonia established its inaugural permanent Worn Wear store within Patagonia’s Chicago’s Fulton Market location. Branded as “Better Than New” and stocked with high-quality and well-organized merchandise, the Worn Wear store embodies Patagonia’s unwavering commitment to quality and sustainability and provides an easy, enjoyable trade-in experience for customers.
  • Commitment to quality craftsmanship and complimentary repairs. Patagonia produces durable gear designed to withstand the test of time. Recognizing the inevitable wear and tear of outdoor equipment, Worn Wear offers repair services, in-store and through ship-ins, and has developed over 100 DIY repair guides, promoting a culture of ‘care and repair’ among consumers.
Repair service and environmental facts

Photo Credit: McMillanDoolittle

ZARA Pre-Owned: Rethinking Fast Fashion with Supported Peer-to-Peer Resale Platform. Inditex-owned ZARA facilitates the sale of pre-owned products directly between consumer buyers and sellers. ZARA arms sellers with garment descriptions, professional photography, packaging labels, customer service assistance, and access to ZARA’s logistic network to help enable an easy selling experience and an appealing buying experience.

  • Repair and donation services. ZARA offers repair services through the platform and in-store, a rare move for large-scale, affordable fashion retailers. Additionally, the company began a collection program for used clothing, footwear, and accessories to donate to local organizations.
  • Strategic roll out. ZARA has been testing and iterating its platform before instituting a full deployment. After launching an initial pilot in November 2022 in the UK, the platform was later released in France in Sept 2023. By 2025, ZARA Pre-Owned is planned to be rolled out in all strategic markets.

Curious to Learn More About How Today’s Retailers are Innovating for Sustainability?  We Can Help!

Retail Innovations 2024 includes a dozen more cases detailing how today’s global retailers and brands are creating an impact through prioritizing sustainability.  Download your own complimentary copy of our publication here. Additionally, McMillanDoolittle partnered with bgood collective to offer full-service sustainability consulting. Check out our blog detailing our partnership and services, and contact us for a complimentary consultation.

Stay tuned on #ThemeThursday in the weeks to come for additional inspirational coverage of the latest global retail and brand innovations across three dominant themes that defined Retail Innovations 2024.

Maddie McBride

Maddie is an analyst on the consumer insights and innovation team at McMillanDoolittle, supporting quantitative and qualitative primary research methodologies, business analysis, strategic planning, and new concept, format and product development. She brings recent expertise in human-centered design, creative workshop facilitation, and statistical analysis to her project work. Maddie received her BA in Economics from the University of Notre Dame.

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