Is Walmart about to become the king of online resale retailing?
Walmart is the biggest retailer on the planet. ThredUP bills itself as the largest online thrift store. Now, the two have announced an online partnership that will give consumers access to 750,000 pre-owned women’s and children’s items, accessories, footwear and handbags from thredUP on Walmart’s site (www.walmart.com/thredup).
Denise Incandela, head of fashion at Walmart U.S. eCommerce, writes in a company blog that the resale clothing items being sold through its site will be in “new” or “like new” condition. Accessories and handbags will come “gently used” and be sold at low resale prices. Walmart will offer free shipping on orders of $35 or more and will not impose a charge on returns to either Walmart or thredUP, a deal not previously available to the online thrift store’s customers.
Walmart’s partnership with thredUP is unusual compared to past deals the resale e-tailer has made with brick and mortar chains in that it is exclusively online. J.C. Penney and Macy’s have tested in-store thredUP shops.
“This partnership is our latest move to establish Walmart.com as a destination for fashion and offer customers the pre-owned items they might be looking for,” wrote Ms. Incandela. “We think they’ll be surprised and delighted by what they find, and we’re excited to inspire customers to look and feel their best.”
Jenn Volk, thredUP director of product management, said, the partnership with Walmart would enable the two companies “to power a sustainable, secondhand shopping experience unlike any other. From Calvin Klein and Nike to Coach and Michael Kors, this digital partnership enhances Walmart’s fashion offering with fresh brands at amazing prices that their customers will love.”
ThredUP’s 2019 annual report, conducted by GlobalData, showed that the apparel resale market has grown 21 times faster than new clothing sales over the past three years. Annual revenues are projected to reach $51 billion by 2023, up from $24 billion, driven by sustainability-minded Millennials and Gen Zers. These two groups are buying secondhand items two-and-a-half times faster than consumers in older demographics.
The deal between Walmart and thredUP comes at a time when new clothing sales have taken a hit as stores across the U.S. were forced to close beginning in March in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Retailers have engaged in deep discounting online ever since in an effort to move excess inventory created when consumers shifted their purchases to stock up on food and other essential items.
Terms of the deal were not published, but it is thought to be similar to those made with other third-party sellers on Walmart’s online marketplace.
- Walmart Partners with thredUP to Enter Popular Fashion Resale Market – Walmart
- thredUP 2019 Annual Report – thredUP
- Is ‘re-commerce’ going mainstream? – RetailWire
- Will thredUP make Macy’s more thrifty? – RetailWire
- Can Jill Soltau rebuild J.C. Penney? – RetailWire
- Has COVID-19 turned fashion into an endangered retail species? – RetailWire
- The coronavirus outbreak has shifted the online competitive landscape – RetailWire
- Will off-pricers be major share gainers post-coronavirus? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What will the Walmart and thredUP partnership mean for each company’s business in the short- and long-term? How will this deal affect rivals to Walmart and thredUP?