Rent the Runway Is Open for Business on Amazon

Amazon Fashion, Rent the Runway, partnerships, retail, eCommerce, online shopping

Rent the Runway is opening shop on Amazon in a move that’s a fit for both brands.

In a Thursday (Jan. 12) press release, the “Pre-Loved” used designer apparel marketplace announced that it has opened a digital storefront to bring its offering to a wider audience, namely, that of the largest eCommerce platform.

“Collaborating with Amazon Fashion brings Rent the Runway incredible brand awareness,” said Jenn Hyman, Rent the Runway co-founder and CEO. “We believe strategic relationships like this can ignite a new engine of growth for our business. They also showcase demand for our products beyond our community and allow more customers to experience exclusive data-driven fashion from our top design partners.”

See also: Luxury Resale Competition Spikes as ‘What Goes Around’ Opens Amazon Storefront

Central to the plan of making its rentable luxury fashions popular with fashion-forward Amazon users is a new line of for-purchase apparel, described in the announcement as “an exclusive selection of merchandise from its Design Collective, only available new through Amazon Fashion and”

Design Collective is RTR’s way of giving “top design talent an opportunity to create limited-edition collections informed by Rent the Runway’s proprietary data and insights from its community of customers,” it said.

According to the release, Design Collective pieces “are amongst the company’s most popular” items, adding that “through this launch with Amazon Fashion, Rent the Runway deepens its commitment to being a customer discovery platform for designer brands by providing an even wider stage for them to introduce their products to new audiences.”

That suits Amazon Fashion’s strategy of getting deeper into the designer world, as it did in December by hosting Oscar de la Renta’s streaming show on the site rather than at Fashion Week, with live events more popular with the fashion press and the glitterati than style renters.

More here: Oscar de la Renta CEO Picks Amazon Over Fashion Week for Customer Acquisition

In other words, streaming fashion directly to consumers could become a thing for the eCommerce titan.

In November, Amazon Fashion partnered with Snapchat for a virtual try-on (VTO) selling experience starting with eyewear. Earlier in 2022, Amazon launched VTO for Shoes through its artificial reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) tech to move merchandise and ideally reduce returns through better fits and fewer surprises.

Read also: Amazon Fashion and Snap Launch Virtual Try-on Feature for the Masses

Regarding its new pact with RTR, it’s all about scaling in a sector it doesn’t yet dominate.

“At Amazon Fashion, we continually expand our assortment through strategic relationships with brands to inspire and delight our customers,” said Muge Erdirik Dogan, president of Amazon Fashion, in the announcement. “Rent the Runway’s collection continues to grow our offering in pre-loved and designer fashion.”

RTR has been on a mission to achieve breakeven, and the Amazon Fashion linkup could contribute to the objective.

On its Q3 2022 Earnings Call in December, Hyman pointed to 31% year-over-year revenue growth, noting that “we have seen an improving trend in subscriber acquisition, costs and retention rates since the end of Q2, as our Q3 ending active subscriber count grew 8% quarter-over-quarter.”

She also said that “Cyber Monday marked our second-highest subscriber acquisition day in company history.”

However, Amazon’s luxury fashion ambitions got it in trouble with The European Court of Justice, which ruled in favor of luxury brand Louboutin. The boutique claimed in a 2019 lawsuit that Amazon was marketing red-soled shoes — Louboutin’s trademark look — that weren’t the real thing.

See also: Amazon Cautioned by European Court of Justice in Louboutin Case

Although Rent the Runway’s stock has fallen below $5 per share and is down about 75% from its post-IPO peak in October 2021, the past month has seen a return of investor interest in one of the resale sector’s earliest listed players, leading to a 40% bounce.