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 item.
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.
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 Online?
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 www.therealreal.com/valuation to make an appointment at an office and see firsthand how the process is done.