What is Gen Z's dream pre-loved shopping experience?

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What is Gen Z's dream pre-loved shopping experience?

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    What do Patagonia, Levi's, REI and Lucy & Yak all have in common? 

    Yeah, they sell bangin’ clothes. But they also have clever buy-back schemes, which are boosting their sustainability credentials to drive brand loyalty, while securing them a tidy margin on the pre-loved market. And they’re tapping into a market that’s set to grow by 127% in the next three years

    Gen Z loves retailers who can jump on the buy-back bandwagon in style, helping them get cash for their unwanted clothes that they can use to buy new or refurbished items.

    Representing 40% of the total consumer base, this generation digs pre-loved, discounts and convenience. Three things buy-back models, when done right, can offer in spades. 

    But how can you deliver Gen Z’s dream pre-loved experience? Our latest survey reveals ways to make the second-hand purchasing and selling experience irresistible. 

    How do Gen Z want to buy pre-loved? 

    Gen Z wants to hear key messages about cost, quality, eco credentials and convenience. Living up to these expectations is crucial. 

    Cost: Gen Z students expect 30% or more off pre-loved clothing. Keep this in mind when pricing the clothes you resell by means of your buy-back scheme. Though students may accept slightly higher prices for refurbished clothes.

    Quality: For Gen Z’s pre-loved shopping priorities, cost wins but quality isn’t far behind. And nearly 50% of students prefer to shop pre-loved in-store, probably to check for quality. Let students see your refurbished clothes in-store to fulfill this need. Satisfaction guarantees will likely drive sales too.  

    Eco credentials: Gen Z students crave the feel-good vibes of doing good for the planet. Be clear about what happens to their unwanted clothes (plus how else you’re being sustainable) with your online and in-store messaging. 

    Convenience: Anecdotally, Gen Z enjoys the hunter-gatherer moments of finding pre-loved gems in-store. But they love convenience elsewhere in their lives, as our Back to Campus and Sustainability reports endorse. Make sure any online and POS experiences are technically spot on. 

    How do Gen Z want to sell pre-loved?

    Resale and consignment marketplaces, such as Facebook, Vinted, Depop and Vestiaire, are jostling for first place when it comes to online re-selling experiences: 

    • 3 in 4 students use Facebook Marketplace
    • 60% of UK students use Vinted

    Then you’ve got brands like Pretty Little Thing and ASOS competing with their collective second-hand marketplaces. Not to mention retailers selling their own pre-loved products by means of buy-back schemes, like Patagonia. 

    To capture the Gen Z reseller market, you need to compete with a polished and satisfying buy-back experience. Here are some measures to make your pre-loved offering stand out.  

    Gen Z loves discounts

    92% of students use discount codes when shopping for clothes. And 85% think brands should reward them with discounts for shopping second-hand. 

    Gen Z’s appetite for discounts knows no bounds, and providing vouchers is an effective way to build brand loyalty. So, when students send their items back to you, give them tasty discounts off new items. Like Lucy & Yak, which offers £20 vouchers for every pair of refurbishable dungarees returned. 

    Convenience crazy

    According to an email poll from Vogue Business, 53% of the general public don’t donate clothing to brand-run buy-back programs. Michael Doughty, co-founder of Hylo Athletics, says “this might be because returning items is far too arduous a process.” 

    Gen Z loathes inconvenience, so make your buy-back process slick with packaging sent out on the submission of a form. 

    The ability to guarantee a sale is another ace up your sleeve — something collective pre-loved platforms can’t offer. The convenience of a fast sale and an instant reward might be your critical advantage. 

    Help students with their side hustles

    Re-selling clothes is, for some, an important revenue stream with 91% of students selling their clothes to make money. It’s not surprising. In Deloitte’s 2022 global Gen Z and Millennial Survey, a third of Gen Z respondents said that the cost of living was their biggest concern. 

    Students are taking back control by finding clever ways to make extra cash. Make it clear that your buy-back scheme is a kickass way for them to save on new items and make money — this is the crux of Gen Z’s ideal pre-loved shopping experience. 

    Get on students’ radar by becoming a UNiDAYS partner. As students’ first-point-of-call pre-purchase, we can raise your brand awareness and pique Gen Z’s interest for your pre-loved offer. 

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