Recorded live at eTail West 2019 - Brian sits down with Chris Homer of thredUP to talk about how data is assisting the "treasure hunt" in the secondhand retail market space. thredUP uses data, events, and preferences to help their customers find wardrobe pieces they'll love, and they use technology to assist them in having joyful experiences over and over.
- Brian interviews Chris Homer, CTO of thredUp, live from eTailWest!
- The second-hand market is growing exponentially faster than legacy retail.
- Thredup is partnering with the supplier, has increased the amount of apparel in their lineup.
- How has thredUP transitioned into a data-driven culture?
- thredUP is allowing its customers to treasure hunt under supervision, using data to increase their customer's experience and the chance of satisfaction in purchasing.
thredUP: The Story Behind The Online Thrift Store:
- Chris Homer explains how thredUP started as a solution to James Reinhart's frustration with having clothes in his closet and yet nothing to wear.
- The store started as a peer-to-peer platform for men's shirts and has since expanded to include clothing, accessories, and shoes for women and children.
- In 2012 the company decided to do more work with the supplier, to actually increase the amount of apparel in circulation, now thredUP puts over 30,000+ items online every single day.
- thredUP accepts over 35,000 brands, which Brian points out is more brands then any traditional retailer would ever touch.
Fun Fact: Second-Hand is Growing at Nine Times The Rate of Legacy Retail:
- The resell or second-hand market is growing incredibly fast, with thredUP's 2018 retail report pointing to resell growing at nine times the rate of regular purchasing.
- Chris says that thredUP has been compiling these reports for 2-3 years and is the result of internal and external data from the company's database and users.
- One thing that the thredUP team was amazed by is how many of their customers were shopping secondhand for the very first time through the platform, and this was made possible because of thredUP's emphasis on quality control.
- Another fun fact from the 2018 report: The resell market is expected to hit 41B by 2022, according to thredUP CEO James Reinhart.
thredUP vs. Poshmark: Saving Customers Time and Patience:
- So what separates thredUP from other resell platforms like Poshmark?
- Well since Poshmark is a peer-to-peer platform, it requires sellers and buyers to be incredibly involved in the entire process.
- thredUP allows for users to clean out their closets and send items directly to the company in a convenient bag, and since so many brands are accepted this increases the possibility of items being accepted.
- One of the most intriguing things about thredUP is the actual system that items go through as they are processed, with a mix of both manual and automatic processes to ensure that only the best quality items are accepted and that sizing is accurate.
- And speaking of manual processes, each item that thredUp accepts is manually measured to ensure accuracy in sizing.
Data, And More Data: thredUP's Data-Driven Culture Yields Actual Results:
- Chris points to thredUP changing the dynamic of their teams as one of the hallmarks of their success. thredUP teams were shifted from functional siloed teams to cross-functional teams focused on business goals.
- There's a reason this is so helpful: When teams are centered around goals as opposed to specific fields like marketing or engineering it brings ownership and accountability to the team itself.
- This approach also gives teams multiple options for how to extract and modify data that is actually relevant.
- Chris also mentions that while having these teams focused on singular goals may lead to more messiness, it encourages more creativity and execution, as long as regular maintenance is performed.
- Brian points out that data collection and implementation is not a technology problem; it's a people problem. Without the right team structure and culture, relevant data won't be utilized properly.
thredUP is Making Thrift Shopping More Fun Through Personalization:
- One of the pillars thredUP operates under is: "Giving a personalized and convenient treasure hunt to your customer."
- Brian loved garage sales as a kid,
- thredUP is giving its customer an opportunity to both discover items that they'll love through a massive assortment and is making new purchase recommendations based on previous customer purchasing.
- As Brian points out, this is a form of guided commerce and will help customers make choices based on thredUP's actual personalization of data.
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