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“Resell as a service”: Felix Winckler on the rise of Reflaunt and how it plans to change the industry

By Rachel Douglass

Sep. 6, 2021

People |Interview

Image: Reflaunt

We have all considered selling a large part of our wardrobes, especially over the last year during long term lockdowns when the world collectively realised that we maybe didn’t need all these clothes after all.

The second-hand market has seen a significant increase, growing 20 times faster than traditional retail according to resale management firm Reflaunt. The tech company aims to make the reselling process easier on both a consumer and brand front, offering its expertise in the development of digital resale programs for retailers.

Reflaunt has previously partnered with the likes of Harvey Nichols, Balenciaga and COS in the creation of platforms primed and ready for consumers to sell through. The company specialises in tried-and-tested customer journeys implemented into these in-house resell services, with different interface options available depending on brand goals and desires.

“This could involve building a dedicated platform, creating a digital interface to manage the drop off and collection systems or an integration that is made directly on their website,” explains Reflaunt’s CCO and co-founder Felix Winckler.

Right on the cusp of Reflaunt’s launch with H&M Canada’s new resale platform, Winckler spoke with FashionUnited about the benefits of resale for all parties involved, a brand’s motivation to get in on the market and why every retailer needs Reflaunt.

Where does the most interest to collaborate come from in the fashion industry? Is there a particular sector?

There is more value in the resale of luxury goods. Items that retain their value tend to maintain higher prices because of their quality, which is understandable. So the luxury market is what we consider as the market with the most value in resale.

Now having said that, we work with COS, we work with H&M, so obviously, we offer resale for a broad spectrum of brands. This is very important for customers because it is also important to be able to resell lesser value products. However, the margin you will make by reselling something like basic trousers or a used pair of sneakers is not going to be the same as if you were reselling a luxury product.

We are looking to open our services to as many retailers as possible. There is a real positive environmental impact to consider when it comes to expanding the product lifecycle. More and more resellers are being taken seriously now and, beyond that, there is higher customer demand. We consider resale a service that can be generalised and added to every customer journey.

Image: Reflaunt x COS

How does Reflaunt ensure the brand identity stays consistent throughout the new platform?

That is the whole value proposition that we bring to resellers. We have got different options of customer journeys that we have already designed. All the marketing services, like popups and emails, have already been drafted. We deliver these to our customers and they are then totally free to adjust the tone of voice and design to match their identity.

The core proposition is to allow retailers to really maintain standards of communication and identity when they integrate this resale journey. What we provide is our expertise, a tested customer journey and validated experience they can incorporate themselves and blend into their identity.

What are the typical incentives for brands, including fast fashion brands, to have a resell platform?

There are several arguments. Sustainability is something of great importance and makes the subject part of their agenda, as well as product life cycles and circularity.

Beyond that, there are maybe two main arguments for a brand to consider. One is a communication argument. There is not much opportunity for brands to really engage with customers beyond sales, and resale is a good angle to reengage with them and create an opportunity to increase retention. For a long-lasting relationship with their customers, resale is something easily incorporated into customer service support and so on.

The other argument is truly financial really. It is not only doing something positive for the environment, but it is also partially for business. The resell market is really dynamic, some studies are talking about a 20 billion dollar market which today most brands are not seeing a penny of. If you appropriate resale into your palette of services then you can take your share of it. It’s an opportunity for retailers to create a new source of cash flow.

Image: Reflaunt

How does Reflaunt help to prevent counterfeiting in the luxury industry?

The main way to do this is by getting the brand involved in the process. One element is accessing a customer’s buying history to link a purchase, which is something we are already using. Another way is to link our resale service with NFT tags, allowing us to have a rather bulletproof authentication element in the process.

Why would customers choose to use this service instead of platforms dedicated to reselling?

Depending on the model put in place, our process is made to simplify the listing process. If it’s peer-to-peer, we connect to the customer database of the retailer and can capture product descriptions so customers don’t have to write anything. If it is a consignment model, for example like our partnership with Harvey Nichols, the service is very high-end and the customer really doesn’t need to do much at all. We take care of absolutely everything, solving the process behind reselling for them.

More importantly, every one of our models is built around a store credit scheme which allows customers to make more money than if they were reselling directly themselves through another platform. They have the option to be paid in either cash or store credit, but the idea is to create an incentive to resell through the retailer by getting a reward and therefore expanding a product lifecycle. It is one of our main points of differentiation.

We are putting together a group of recyclers and technology companies that are capable of doing things with these garments, for example making new objects and so forth. Yellow Octopus will do the sourcing and dispatching of the products. The challenge at this point is to optimise and steer the process. We are still testing and trying to fine tune the model. The long term plan is that we would be capable of plugging recyclers into different technology companies.

Image: Reflaunt

Do you plan on expanding into other country’s markets in the coming months?

Absolutely. We already have a presence and are selling in South East Asia and we have an office in Singapore. We have got a strong presence in Europe and we just started our operation in North America, so our strategy, for the time being, is really focusing on these three regions; South East Asia, Europe and North America.

We will be looking at other markets, with the most obvious ones being China, Korea and Japan. We are still in the exploration stage but we have started a number of discussions, so we hope to at least be offering our service to these markets soon.

Has the company faced any challenges during this difficult year?

Yes and no. On the negative side, we had a lot of launches that were ready to go last year that we postponed for obvious reasons like the stores were closed or other urgent things to do. On the positive side, the second-hand market has been quite dynamic. I think when people were at home looking at their wardrobe and had time on their hands we saw the market grow during this period. It supported the idea that this market is quite strong and resilient.