Vestiaire Collective expands to Germany, Italy and U.S.
Following its launch in Britain 18 months ago, the French website for second-hand luxury fashion has been up and running in Germany three weeks now. Next in line is the U.S. and then Italy in June. Parallel to the website's growth is a build-out of its services, which now includes "concierge" assistance.
Now customers can get full support in selling their products — everything from photography to descriptive texts and even secure data back-up. The new service charges a 35% commission compared to 25% for the standard package.
Vestiaire Collective stands out from other peer-to-peer sales concepts through the care that goes into its catalog. The quality and condition of the 120,000 pieces for sale are actually monitored by a dedicated team that selects clothes always "in step with the times." They reject some 30% of the items submitted. The rest is put on sale 30-70% lower than the market price. The system has attracted two million members whose average shopping cart is around 300 euros.
"We took up the opposite position in the market, one that brings sellers and buyers together, because the development of this group is what creates the value of a catalog," said Fanny Moisant, UK managing director for co-founder of the website. "One of our strengths is to have a well-designed concept from the start. And we are duplicating it in other countries."
The website has enjoyed rapid success in the UK, "driven by the extremes" of high-street and luxury, and also where Net-a-Porter has been on the rise for fifteen years. "Germany seems to be a middle ground between France and Britain, with its own peculiarities, such as its famous return rate," said Sophie Hersan, co-founder and head of catalog and quality. In the United States, the company will be deploying a strong PR campaign in the press and on social media.
"We have partners such as the Condé Nast group that will help us a lot with our growth," said Sophie Hersan. The publishing house of Vogue, GQ and Vanity Fair was basically a big contributor to the website's 20 million dollar fundraising round in the fall of 2013. But the site's international development will also take place through social networks, since Vestiaire Collective was initially designed as a social network for fashion connoisseurs.
85% of the website's high-end fashion followers are women, whereas men remain another audience yet to conquer. They represent a promising market — 55% of them spend more than 700 euros per year on clothing and have a strong affinity for designer clothes.
Like any site selling online, Vestiaire Collective is also moving toward mobile, which now accounts for 40% of its traffic. That's how regulars are able to view in real time the 600 new offers put online each day. "Our first slogan was 'Find the hidden gem,' and that is still a good way to describe us," said Fanny Moisant. "One of our marketing tools is this treasure hunt. But we take the opposite tact of daily postings at fixed times, which puts our users in time-slot silos. This is where the community aspect of Vestiaire Collective takes the lead."
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