Fashion e-Commerce And The Second Hand Market: Stephanie Crespin of Style Tribute
Good business is about solving an existing problem.
Technology has disrupted many different industries and fashion is no exception. The digital world provides an endless amount of data. From the start, I felt ‘online’ was the most suited, democratic and fastest way to execute and bring to life my business idea.
For a business like mine, for marketplaces in general actually, inventory is key. Having an ever growing inventory does not go hand in hand with physical retail space which has scalability limits. The web (and the option for a virtual marketplace) was the most easily adopted channel for my business.
The second hand market is a huge market, the potential was valued by the Business Of Fashion (BOF) to be in the US over 880 billion dollar worth. The second hand market is by definition products that are/have been owned by individuals. The potential inventory is thus stocked and spread across a massive amount of individual consumers.
However, the challenges with this market are distribution and product availability.
What are the odds that an interested buyer looking for a Louboutin Pigalle heels size 36 connects with a seller who just by coincidence bought a pair and would like to get rid of it? The second hand market of fashion is becoming significant and growing at an incredible pace as technology has finally enabled the existence of organised marketplaces where individuals can connect easily.
Consumers are becoming increasingly educated and exigent. They are increasingly drawn to marketplaces which specialise in the product category they are looking for, instead of marketplaces like eBay or Craiglist that sell across multiple categories, giving them a shopping experience aligned with the category ecosystem.
Competitive prices for these high-end goods is not sufficient anymore, and consumers are looking for platforms that enable them to browse through a curated assortment.
Social media is one important channel on which consumers were finally able to promote easily their products to sell, competing with existing classifieds like eBay or craigslist. However, social media has its limits — limits in functionalities, reach and not being 100% adapted to shopping high-end goods. But social media can be used as a complementary tool to existing marketplaces, one good example is how Carousell leveraged Facebook to promote goods of sellers to their own network.
We see a strong growing appetite for second hand luxury goods in Southeast Asia, and we expect this to continue. The ease of online shopping, the wider range of products and competitive pricing for buyers; and the attractive commissions for sellers have helped digital marketplaces like StyleTribute thrive.
You can read the full piece by Stephanie Crespin in our upcoming March print issue of Billionaire Singapore.
To read about how to build a highly successful start-up like Carousell did, click here.