The updated clothing rental program will give customers a chance to subscribe for $89 a month — as opposed to $139 (the price on the plan rolled out about a year ago) — and will give them access to four items of women’s fashion, excluding some designers.
According to CEO and Co-Founder, Jennifer Hyman, the new plan aims to draw in more price-sensitive shoppers outside the site’s normal base of affluent professionals who make up most of Rent the Runway’s existing subscribers.
“It’s unrealistic to assume that at a price point of over $100 a month that you’re ever going to touch people who are making less than $100,000 a year,” she said.
The four pieces in the monthly haul can include dresses, coats or handbags, from labels such as Tory Burch, Vince and Diane von Furstenberg.
But will customers — en masse — want to rent clothes instead of buy them?
“Getting people to change their behavior is difficult,” said David Bell, a marketing professor at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
The math people do in a renting vs. buying situation, he noted, is hard to quantify, as is the degree to which people will feel uncomfortable wearing a pre-worn dress.
Subscriptions now make up one-third of Rent the Runway’s retail revenue; one-time fashion rentals are the rest of its business. Subscription 2.0 offers 200 women’s fashion brands. The original program, of course, remains on offer, which gives shoppers access to high-end labels like Oscar de la Renta and unlimited exchanges throughout the month; the service will increase from three retail items at a time to four, bumping the cost to $159 per month for new customers.
Under both plans, more women’s fashion items can be rented for an additional charge.