New Marketplace Solutions are Redefining Retail Tech and Making Investors Bet on Fashion Tech
ShareStyle is an app based marketplace for professional style services everything from personal stylists, interior designers, and nutritionists. The idea behind it is to have a curated platform of all these professionals and give consumers easy access to them in one place. The professionals set their own hourly rate and ShareStyle adds their margin on top of this.
Investors are placing big bets on one fashion-tech sector: the online resale marketplace. Online consignment business swelled as sites like Vestiaire Collective, ThredUp, The RealReal, ThreadFlip, Poshmark, Tradesy, Twice and Vaunte popped up to bring the ancient art of secondhand shopping to a digital marketplace. Since that initial boom, weaker competitors have folded into other companies or shuttered, while leading players have become increasingly flush with cash. According to data from fashion investment community FashInvest, investors funneled more than $175 million into the online reselling industry in 2016.
No longer looked at with disdain, the pre-owned market is growing in both dollars and prevalence. As it becomes easier for customers to educate themselves about items like handbags, watches, and sneakers, they seek a greater value for their dollar in the luxury space. And they’d rather not be bothered by pushy salespeople in boutiques, as these savvy customers already know what they want and what its worth.
The Los Angeles-based company says it has partnered with more than 100 publishers (including NBC’s today, InStyle, and TechCrunch-owner AOL,) and works with more than 500 retailers and touts its ability to introduce a shopping experience to articles, videos, sponsored posts, and interactive ads – so that you can actually buy the products that you’re reading about without having to go to a separate website.
At the National Retail Federation’s trade show in New York, Kohl’s Chief Technology Officer Ratnakar Lavu sat down with the Tribune to talk about how online shopping is changing customers’ expectations, why you’ll probably see Kohl’s get into chatbots but not virtual reality (at least not yet), and how technology that’s caused problems for retailers can also help solve them.
The concept of an online marketplace is not new. Giants such as Amazon, eBay and Alibaba have found tremendous success offering a myriad of products to online shoppers. Although the industry is currently dominated by a few large players, the low risk/high return business model of drop ship-based online marketplaces offers a unique opportunity for brands and retailers to get in the game. In fact, newly developed marketplace software solutions make it easy for brands and retailers to capture an even larger piece of the $1.3 trillion global e-commerce pie. Here are some trends and the future of retail in 2017.