The RealReal Proves Digital Sales Aren’t Everything


In the twenty years after Y2K, we’ve seen just how far the
internet has come. Today, it is rare (if not impossible) to meet someone who
hasn’t used the internet at some point in their life. Most people have or have once
had a social media account that has linked them to the world. Social media
aside, one internet-related issue that has taken off in the past twenty years
is online shopping.

Not everyone shops online, but more people do surf the web
for sales than don’t. It’s estimated that nearly three million Americans will
shop online this year, and 69%
of Americans
report that they have used the internet to get their shopping
done. As much as people might make jokes about their shopaholic wives, there
isn’t much of a difference between men and women’s online shopping habits. 68%
of men have admitted to participating in online shopping before, compared to
72% of women. Both men and women reported clothing as their biggest shopping

This correlates with online retail trends. Clothing is one of the most widely-advertised online sale items, and in the years since online shopping took off in popularity, what is being offered online has only improved. Now, brands like The RealReal offer customers authenticated luxury items for half the cost by selling them lightly used. However, The RealReal hasn’t just focused on selling items online. The store has pop-ups and physical locations all around the world, and soon they will be getting one more.

Representation Matters

Work is currently underway for a spring 2020 opening of a
San Francisco RealReal flagship store, located on Post Street in the old Hermès
storefront. The store will showcase some of the more exceptional items being
sold through The RealReal and will also offer residents the opportunity to
bring in their lightly-used luxury fashion items for resale. The RealReal does
all the work that home resale hopefuls do on their own; they take professional
photos of the article, authenticate and price it, advertise it, and securely
sell and ship it to its new owner. In turn, the person who brought in the item
for resale gets a large chunk of the profit.

It seems fitting that the location of San Francisco’s flagship store is in the former Hermès location on post street. Hermès, after all, is an instantly recognizable name in the luxury fashion industry. When the company began its search for a storefront in San Francisco, a lot of thought went into the search. The old site of Hermès fit all the pieces of the puzzle that was trying to find the right storefront.

Its iconic status was only one piece. TheRealReal also
wanted to create a new store in a location that had a high need for used
designer clothing. Because San Francisco is a highly-populated metropolitan
area, The RealReal saw the Hermès location as an opportunity for locals to
resell their luxury goods in an environment that was comfortable and familiar.

A store that prides itself on kickstarting the prevalence of
cyclical, sustainability-oriented shopping has taken over space in what was
once a luxury, high-end retail store. There’s a kind of subtle message behind
that power move. Sure, consumers still care about luxury goods – after all, The
RealReal wouldn’t exist if they didn’t. However, it has become clear that even
luxury consumers are focused on revamping the economy in a way that supports
sustainability, and the move into a former high-end store supports that vision.

Why is Having a Physical Location as Important as Selling

The main draw-in of online buying is its convenience. People
are busier than ever today, many working long hours or even more than one job
on top of all their other responsibilities. Online shopping offers them convenience.
There’s no need for them to drive to a physical location after a day of work,
or to wait in line behind other people trying to check out. However, there are
a few things that the online experience is missing.

For one, there is a sense of community that is found when you visit a physical location. While you might not always be in the mood visit an actual store, there are times when it is nice to physically look and touch items – even in an age of digital convenience. The RealReal recognizes this and is also working it into plans for their San Francisco store. They’re opening a café within the store, called CaféCafé. In addition to this, RealReal stores also host events and workshops open to the public. Events often highlight the history of fashion and even examine the impact of the luxury consignment industry on modern life. Workshops help consigners understand the authentication process and even walk them through it.

Additionally, for a store that specializes in authentic
luxury goods, it’s nice to have a store that can show consumers exactly how the
authentication process is done. At any time, The RealReal encourages the public
to meet with their horologists and gemologists to see how the process is done.
Remaining transparent online can be hard, but it is an important step. The
RealReal works with customers in-store to help them understand the value of
their items. Hopefully, with more physical locations popping up around the
world, The RealReal will be able to remain at the forefront of luxury resale and
will help shape how it is done.

Where Are The RealReal’s Other Physical Locations?

The San Francisco location isn’t The RealReal’s first store,
and it certainly will not be its last. The RealReal currently has three
different stores and nine different physical consignment offices located all
around the United States. These include:

  • Three different New York City store locations – Madison, Downtown, and South Hampton (SoHo). Consignment offices are also located at these stores.
  • A Chicago, Illinois consignment office
  • A Dallas, Texas consignment office
  • A Los Angeles consignment office
  • A Miami consignment office
  • A Washington, D.C. consignment office
  • A San Francisco consignment office, which is separate from the future store

Are you interested in learning more about the consignment
process and The RealReal’s locations? Visit to
make an appointment at an office and see firsthand how the process is done.