The shift in thrift took a massive leap today as sleek online secondhand brand thredUP unveiled details about its first brick-and-mortar store, slated to open on July 20th in a Texas outlet mall.
They say everything's bigger in Texas, and apparently that goes for the density of tech-enabled thrifters, too.
The first of five brick-and-mortar retail locations the popular resale website and mobile app plans to open in 2017, thredUP's "Smart Store" concept in San Marcos, TX promises to fully integrate online and offline thrift shopping with a clean, minimal aesthetic, new inventory added daily (curated via data analytics and leveraging the website's assortment of 35,000 brands), plus tech-enabled features currently not being offered by any other resale store.
"ThredUP has spent almost ten years revolutionizing the secondhand industry through technology, and Smart Stores are designed to change everything customers think they know about secondhand shopping," Samantha Jacob, thredUP's Marketing and Communications Manager, said yesterday over email with Apartment Therapy. "Today's customer expects a high level of personalization, and thredUP's technology will enable a more intuitive thrift experience with all thrill and none of the work."
So it's no wonder that while most Texans say they're averse to thrift shopping, such a high density of them are already using thredUP.com that the company chose an outlet mall in San Marcos — a growing exurb and college town in Texas Hill Country, just off the highway halfway between Austin and San Antonio — as the prime location for their very first brick-and-mortar store, positioned within the Tanger Outlet Center.
While the team at thredUP wouldn't yet confirm additional locations, they did tell Apartment Therapy that new thredUP store locations will run the gamut from traditional malls and affluent shopping centers to outlets and off-price locations, situated in urban as well as suburban locations, and they're considering geographic areas in California (they are based in San Francisco) as well as additional locations along the west coast and elsewhere in Texas.
"Our research shows that the majority of thredUP customers are value-seekers who shop in outlet centers and off-price stores," Jacob said. "Actually, half of our customers never shopped thrift before thredUP."
According to the reseller's data, thredUP offers up to 90% off the largest selection of brands anywhere, with top-selling online brands including J. Crew, Madewell, Banana Republic, Michael Kors, Club Monaco and Lululemon. And the first thredUP Smart Store sits amongst more traditional Tanger Outlet Center retail neighbors like Adidas, Forever 21, H&M, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, and West Elm — though it is the only store selling secondhand.
"[Our] stores give new meaning to the idea of everyday value. In thredUP stores, everything is on sale, all the time," boasts the brand's announcement on Medium today.
Unlike traditional thrift stores, however, thredUP customers will also soon be able to receive notifications of new in-store arrivals via the thredUP app, use in-store visual search to locate similar items online, and receive suggestions of items that 'complete the look' based on an in-store purchase.
"If a customer buys a dress in our store to wear to a summer wedding, but still needs a clutch and heels to match, these items can be suggested through visual search technology and shopped directly to her home from thredUP.com to try on as a full look," Jacob said.
In-store notifications are still being developed and have yet to roll out, but Jacob said there will be future features that allow customers at home to put a desired item on hold in a store so they can go try it on without fear of it selling out before they get there — and on the reverse, in-store shoppers can locate items online via Smart Store iPads and have those items shipped to their homes to try on later, using what thredUp called DressUP.
"DressUP will be a similar experience to the convenience offered by the new Amazon Prime Wardrobe feature or StitchFix," Jacob told Apartment Therapy. "Unlike these services, thredUP items are always 75 to 90 percent off retail prices, and local thredUP customers will have access to our physical retail stores to supplement their try-at-home finds."
For now, existing customers will not yet be able to use their earnings from selling on thredUP.com to make in-store purchases, but that is definitely something they are working to implement in the future. Additionally, Smart Stores will not be accepting Clean Out Kits, but store associates will be able to help offline customers pick up a new pre-paid bag in stores (via their app) and connect them to their online account prior to filling up with items to sell and ship.
The formal grand opening of the first thredUP Smart Store in San Marcos, TX is slated for July 20th (though the soft opening is already underway).