Oscar De La Renta dives into resale with help from Archive
One of the first luxury brands to tackle resale, Oscar de la Renta has partnered with Archive to launch a resale experience for customers on its website. “It’s a very interesting initiative,” said Alexander Bolen, CEO of the brand. “We have already learned a lot. For years, customers have said, “I found this little black dress in my mom’s closet and wore it.” During the Covid-19 pandemic, we started to see some acceleration in customer purchases from their cupboards. »
Bolen said there was never any question of launching resale in-house rather than partnering with a platform such as The RealReal or Fashionphile. “There has been a proliferation of third-party resale sites,” Bolen said. “We are not completely satisfied with the way our brand is presented on these sites. Forget counterfeiting, there is at least misidentification of the products. We decided that if we want to do it right, we have to do it ourselves.
Called Encore by Oscar de la Renta, the resale experience is powered by Archive, which offers a complete operating system for brands to power their own pre-owned programs using minimal resources and capital. Through each custom resale marketplace, consumers can buy and sell used items directly from their own e-commerce sites and alongside new inventory, reflecting the integrated shopping experience of the future.
“Encore’s technology solution is the way we want to approach the business,” Bolen said. “It’s just another offer for our customers. We’ve had plenty of crossovers already, with customers coming through Encore and eventually buying full price, and vice versa. Reselling will be the key to acquiring and retaining customers in the short term. This will be a great way to re-engage lapsed customers, whether it’s consigning a product or buying a product.
“We had difficult discussions with some of the third-party resale sites,” Bolen added. “We want to make sure that our customers have a resale experience that matches the full price, whether it’s a digital experience or a physical experience. We’re excited about Archive because it lets us focus on what we think we’re good at: front-end and working with clients. Archive takes care of all the complicated return payments with resale, which is different from the current product. »
Bolen said the sustainable aspect of resale appeals to environmentally conscious customers. “Resale and circularity are big in the fashion world right now,” he said. “If the resale is successful, it really changes the way people look at luxury fashion. Right now we are a consumable or disposable product, but if there is demonstrated resale value, it becomes an investment and becomes an asset. Reselling allows us to have a bigger conversation with our customers.
Encore by Oscar de la Renta showcases fashion from the 60s up to two years ago. “We will continue to have that mix and experiment with fine jewelry from jewelers we work with,” Bolen said.
But finding fashion was a challenge. “We’ve decided to ask our key retail salespeople to approach long-time customers and ask them if they’d like to participate and entrust Encore,” Bolen said. “To our surprise, most of them said, ‘No, I just want to keep my clothes.'”
Encore introduced a charity component, which encouraged customers to check in. “The ability for customers to donate kind of changed the perspective,” Bolen said. “We started hearing from more customers as they learned about this option.”
Bolen said positioning resale and full price side by side was key. “It’s all about our brand,” he said. “Encore demonstrates that there is residual value in Oscar de la Renta fashion. We always thought there was because people keep their clothes for a very long time. We can demonstrate that it now has real value. which can be monetized, or turned into store credit or a charitable donation.This gives people more confidence in purchasing current Oscar de la Renta products.
The fashion house dresses celebrities for red carpet events and Bolen wants to auction off the dresses worn by actresses and influencers, donating the money to the charity of their choice. “We will bring immediacy in the form of an auction,” he said. “It’s about getting customers to engage. The Archive team is very willing to offer compelling solutions. »
According to Bolen, Oscar de la Renta’s timeless styles lend themselves to resale. “When you buy Oscar de la Rental clothing, because our aesthetic is very timeless – yes, it varies with the seasons – it confirms that it’s an asset, not a consumable. This is one of the main issues for me. It’s not a perfect analogy, but the way BMW and Mercedes are involved in the used car market, for similar reasons we want to be involved in resale. It’s an important part of our brand and allows us to speak to even more customers.
So far, Encore resonates with a diverse audience. “At the time we embarked on this project, we thought Gen Z would be our primary audience,” Bolen said. “He’s been all over the map. There have been Gen Z customers, as well as buyers and sellers who have been more traditional, long-term Oscar de la Renta customers.