Willa – nice post! There are a bunch of these online re-sale/consignment businesses that have cropped up in the last couple years – ThredUp which does a lot of low end brands and does the pick up and pays you as you described and the more luxury focused branded sellers like Poshmark, RealReal and Tradesy.
I think it is interesting to note the different monetisation models each of these have adopted. Essentially either they have chosen to be extremely high end like RealReal which sources items from celebrity closets or Poshmark which sells brands you described and then at the other end is ThredUp which literally allows you to sell stuff from the likes of Old Navy, H&M, Zara at throw away prices . Depending on each company and where they lie on the luxury spectrum they each have different commissions and fees.
-Some of them will pick it up for you, take professional pictures and sell it and then give you simply a % of sales — this ends up being a much lower margin than Tradesy where all you do is pay the commission and not have to worry about giving up 30-60% of the revenue. However Tradesy involves more work.
-Some of them will just facilitate the market place where you do all the work – take pictures, upload, sell, ship and they will take a listing fee
-Some will buy the inventory off you and then re-sell at a higher price. Since this involves them taking inventory risk — the margin is again lower for the seller.
I think RealReal has an awesome model — since they specialise in high-end luxury like Chanel, LV, fine jewellery etc. They have much higher margins and higher average ticket sizes. Additionally they have specialists who verify the authenticity of the merchandise and then professionally photograph and present it. You almost feel like your shopping on gilt or shopbop even though its consignment!
Great post Luiz! It is fascinating how digital the customer’s point of sale is becoming with the use of tablets and online apps/websites for order taking. Although sometimes it is worrying as this is also a service-oriented industry and the more digital and automated the processes gets, is it at the cost of the quality and personalisation of service?
I think there is a balance that needs to be achieved in managing the trade off between efficiency and compromising service as perceived by the customer. I think innovative uses of technology like bitcoin for payments, use of webcam to track traffic and waiting times (shake shack NYC), simple online ordering for pick-ups and delivery are all great. However one needs to be careful in executing technology on premise. As long as it improves customer service and doesn’t sacrifice the old school perception of needing and requiring human service it should be good.
The fast-food industry is almost like a manufacturing process and requires constant improvements in efficiency in the “assembly line” from central kitchens to plate. There is a lot more scope for digital/online disruption in fast-food vs. fine dining.
I would be interested to know how the online economy can better disrupt fine-dining or fast-casual without compromising quality/service.