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

Luxury, Chanel, wealth, US expansion

For over 20 years, New York City’s original luxury reseller, What Goes Around Comes Around, has enjoyed a robust niche catering to the designer apparel and accessories needs of its high-end neighbors in Manhattan and Beverly Hills.

While publicly traded upstarts like The RealReal and Rent the Runway have grown up in — and even eclipsed — “WGACA,” that all changed this week when the categories’ matriarch firm announced it is upsizing its reach. Not with a new store in Dallas or Chicago or Boston, but with a new digital storefront on Amazon.

It’s a move that instantly converts its bicoastal presence into a global one, and one that could have major ramifications for customers and rival luxury resellers, as well as Amazon itself, which has long sought to upgrade its image, and designer labels too, which have struggled to rationalize the reality of the second-hand industry.

Top luxury brands including Chanel, Hermès and LVMH have long resisted the pull of direct selling through Amazon, but third-party resale is another matter as the eCommerce giant breathes new life into the Amazon Luxury Stores concept with hot brands now onboard.

“We were attracted to Luxury Stores at Amazon’s mission to create a convenient, inclusive destination to discover luxury goods,” WGACA CEO Seth Weisser said in the release, in which he noted his company’s 30-year track record of servicing the unique luxury pre-owned apparel and accessories needs of celebrities, industry tastemakers, and high fashion.

A visit to its new Amazon store now finds items such as a $7,650 Chanel Quilted Lambskin Classic Double Flap clutch, giving a sense of the new approach to couture selling to Amazon shoppers.

Amazon signaled a change in the air in a June blog post announcing the expansion of Amazon Luxury Stores to European markets.

“Since unveiling Luxury Stores at Amazon with iconic fashion house Oscar de la Renta, the U.S. store now includes an extensive and diverse range of global fashion and beauty brands and is constantly exploring new and exciting ways to engage customers,” Amazon said in the post.

There was no mention at that time of the stratospheric luxe brands now available as part of the WGACA deal, which is sure to be joined by others as luxury sales generally, and luxury resale specifically, have shown resilience despite runaway inflation.

See also: Saks Off 5th, Rent the Runway Team on Pre-Owned Fashion Offering

Amazon Luxury Stores made its debut two years ago as an invitation-only offering to eligible Prime members that kicked off with the fall/winter 2020 line of fashion house Oscar de la Renta. A September 2020 press release noted that collections are “sold directly from the participating brands as a ‘store within a store’ experience, brands independently make decisions regarding their inventory, selection and pricing — and Amazon offers the merchandising tools for brands to create and personalize content in each of their unique brand voices.”

“By seamlessly tying content and commerce together, both fashion and beauty brands can engage and entertain customers through immersive storytelling, including enhanced, auto-play imagery and in-motion graphics,” Amazon said at the time.

The luxury resale market has coalesced from hit-or-miss consignment boutiques to big business in recent years as outfits like Vestiaire Collective, The RealReal and YOOX Net-a-Porter brought advanced retail strategies to the space.

“The pandemic caused widespread financial instability,” Pedro Bennasar, head of payment for luxury resale site Vestiaire Collective, told PYMNTS in an April interview. “This financial adversity, however, did not cause consumers to stop shopping but rather to seek financial flexibility to accommodate their existing spending habits.”

With resale now even more attractive given 40-year high inflation, the space is reorganizing to tap the full potential of the trend, as evidenced by the Monday (Oct. 17) news that eCommerce fashion platform GOAT Group is acquiring apparel reseller Grailed.

Read more: GOAT Group Buys Fashion Reseller Grailed

That follows the early October news that reseller Poshmark is being acquired by South Korea’s largest eCommerce platform, Naver, in a deal valued at $1.2 billion.

See more: Poshmark Buyout Reflects Hidden Value Within Battered Resale Industry

One of the main complaints as luxury resale grows is the high number of very convincing — and totally illegal — fakes being professionally manufactured and sold online as the real thing.

To that end, the Authentication Institute of America announced Thursday (Oct. 20) its own debut.

“Currently there is no regulatory organization standardizing the training, accuracy and compliance of authentication practitioners,” said Co-Founder Deanna Thompson in a press release. “To create a more dependable and trustworthy industry, we have come together to create this program.”

The Authentication Institute of America offers “video recordings, training modules, essays, and live assessments,” according to the release, in an effort to teach product proctors to “gauge comprehension and acumen of the art and science of authentication.”

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