After taking the helm as CEO of recommerce company Trove in May, Gayle Tait is focused on fostering ways to make selling secondhand products a profitable business.
“Now, more than ever, there is an appetite to make a positive impact on the environment,” Tait told FN. “And recommerce has become a bit of a buzzword when people talk about resale. But in fact, the ability to be able to do this in a profitable way at scale is actually not easy. That’s something we want to be able to do, remove that hurdle for our brand partners.”
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According to Tait, Trove’s technology powers trade-in and resale within a brand’s own ecosystem, giving each brand partner an opportunity to own the experience and engage with new and existing customers.
The company’s technology is now present in 700 brick-and-mortar stores nationwide, Tait said, with Arc’teryx, Eileen Fisher, Levi’s, Lululemon, Patagonia and REI among the brand partners offering customers a way to trade in gently used, preloved items at stores across the U.S.
“Everything that we do is about keeping items in use, making sure that our partners and customers can extract value out of items that have already been made, and reduce carbon emissions and an industry which has a lot of work to do,” Tait said.
And Trove is doing just that. Year to date through July, Trove tallied a 74% reduction in Co2 emissions versus the same period last year. The company said it calculates its carbon savings by using a 60% displacement rate, a widely accepted industry standard that refers to the rate at which a used purchase directly replaces a new purchase and thus offsets the carbon impact associated with producing a brand-new item.
Looking at footwear specifically, Tait said that the company has recently partnered with On and Allbirds to facility their own individual resale initiatives.
In February, Trove teamed up with Allbirds to launch its “ReRun” resale platform. Through the Allbirds ReRun platform, the shoe company now sells slightly imperfect and gently used shoes at reduced price points, starting at $59.
ReRun launched exclusively in the United States at three stores in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City – giving consumers the option of trading in their preloved Allbirds shoes for $20 in-store credit. Following the initial launch, the brand plans to expand the program to additional retail locations nationally.
Last month, Trove launched the “Onward” program with Swiss performance brand On. Consumers are able to shop and trade in pre-owned On footwear, with the program expanding to include apparel in the near future. Through Onward, customers can now send back gently used On gear and receive a $35 credit to spend on their next purchase at Onward or On-running.com.
And according to Tait, more programs like these are likely to pop up in the future. “Given the many headwinds and challenges consumers are facing right now, like inflation, more people are looking to buy secondhand merchandise,” she said. “There was even a recent study from Global Data that showed that 58% of consumers say that secondhand shopping has helped them during a time of inflation.”
Looking ahead, Tait is confident in the company’s – and recommerce’s—future. “We’re doubling our business this year, and we very much hope to more than double it next year,” Tait told FN. “We’re also seeing just a huge amount of interest and engagement from the industry, which I think is going to help us power those goals.”
And it’s not just about sales for Tait. In addition to the company’s Co2 emissions goals, Trove also set a target to keep over 10 million items in use over the next three years. “I always tell my team that every item that we resell is another item that we have been able to find its greatest and best use,” Tait said. “My hope is that we continue to have the growth that we’re seeing now so that the impact we can have is really big.”
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