Walmart x ThredUp

The basics:

Walmart and ThredUp recently announced a new partnership where new to almost new items consigned with ThredUp will be sold online at walmart.com/thredup.

According to Walmart, ThredUp is curating a collection of up to 750,000 pieces of clothing and accessories in excellent condition to be sold through Walmart’s e-commerce site.

Check out: Walmart enters the clothing resale market with ThredUp partnership

This will also allow shoppers to shop from brands not currently carried at Walmart such as Michael Kors, Nike, Calvin Klein, and even Coach, according to Denise Incandela, head of fashion e-commerce at Walmart.

My Take:

Overall, I think this a great partnership filled with tons of opportunity. Is it perfect right now? No, but maybe someday. The best part is that this makes shopping from the resale market incredibly accessible to everyone as the items from ThredUp fit in with Walmart’s pricing. Another great benefit of this is that there are many people who are familiar with shopping at Walmart.

An issue that comes up is the fact that these ThredUp items will only be sold online, and the majority of Walmart’s e-comm business is groceries. With everything happening in the world right now and with more and more people adopting new online shopping habits, I think that this issue will be very short-lived. When shopping online, you can add a dress from ThredUp into your cart along with your groceries, and maybe more people over time will see that they can still get everything in one “shopping trip” online as they usually would in a Walmart store.

A colleague of mine pointed out that when on Walmart’s site, if you generically browse clothing, no ThredUp items will show up. I am torn about this because I do like that all of the pre-owned items are separated so that nobody accidentally buys something pre-owned without realizing it, however, I can see how this would prove to be a barrier in terms of shoppers not naturally discovering ThredUp items on Walmart’s site. Of course, if you start at walmart.com/thredup you’ll make it there, but what I also noticed is that when you pull down Walmart’s side menu and go to the clothing tab, the ThredUp portion is pretty clearly marked and it is advertised for, as well, which will hopefully draw in the curious ones and will make sure that nobody makes an accidental purchase.

Back to accessibility, anyone in the retail industry knows about how popular luxury resale has become, however, even luxury resale is still pretty inaccessible to the American masses. There are sites like eBay and apps like Poshmark that make lower-priced resale more accessible, but even those require learning new technological features either on a website or through downloading an app. The familiarity of shopping on Walmart’s website will prove to be a strength in this partnership that will benefit both parties, and the accessibility of pricing will allow those who have never been able to participate in the resale economy to do so. With popular brands being curated for this partnership, I think that this could create some excitement for the Walmart shopper.

What I was most surprised to see was the diversity of the brands showcased on this site. I was initially expecting the brand offerings to mimic those that you can get somewhere such as Nordstrom Rack, but I was really surprised to see brands like Opening Ceremony, Tretorn, Prada, Vetements, and JW Anderson. There were very few of these products but the prices were incredibly reasonable ($281.99 – see below – may not sound very reasonable at all and doesn’t fit the budget of a Walmart shopper, but in my opinion this actually is a fair price for something with the Vetements brand attached to it and maybe Walmart will find a new following from the hypebeasts) and I never thought I would see a day where a Vetements x Reebok sneaker would be on Walmart’s website.

The last point I want to make is that I truly believe that ThredUp should ditch their “Designer” category of merchandise (which include designers like Gucci and Burbery on their website) to truly focus on the brands that they so successfully sell, such as Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Coach, Madewell, J. Crew, etc.

I have never understood why ThredUp bothers with high-end designer and luxury, especially when there is already so much competition in luxury resale. I think that the partnership with Walmart helps ThredUp appeal to the masses, which will probably draw people further away from making luxury purchases on ThredUp. Appealing to the masses and selling luxury goods usually don’t work together well, and as someone who makes luxury purchases off of The RealReal relatively frequently, it is still not an inexpensive shopping experience and definitely has a high price-point boundary for entry.

I’m all for ThredUp working with Walmart to make resale accessible for all, and I think that ThredUp should go all-in with this partnership and the message of accessibility to the masses.

Featured image from CNN.

Published by Emma Irwin

Emma Irwin is a passionate student of the retail industry. Freshly graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.S. in Retail Merchandising, she will be pursuing an M.S. in Apparel Studies with a concentration in Retail and Consumer Studies in fall 2020. Career ambitions include writing a formal research paper, becoming a retail writer and reporter, and maybe being a CEO someday.

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