Instructor: David Schuff, Section 003

I’m Gonna Pop Some Tags (online): ThredUp Changes the Way People Thrift

Changing consumer trends towards more cost-conscious spending has enabled companies to carve a space for themselves in the sharing economy. ThredUp in particular aims to change the way that buyers shop for second-hand clothing. It has grown to become the largest online thrift/consignment shop in the country. ThredUp doesn’t utilize peer to peer transactions to sell items. Instead, ThredUp collects and organizes the clothing it receives then photographs, sells, and delivers the items on their site. ThredUp is a new market innovation because it changes the process of shopping for second-hand clothing and makes it more convenient. Instead of spending hours sifting through racks of unorganized clothing, users can simply search for an item or brand they’re looking for, and all relevant items will populate their screen. Users can benefit from the cost savings of buying second-hand clothing, without having to spend a lot of time searching for desired items. Creating an easy to use, online platform for thrifting makes it more appealing and could attract customers who wouldn’t be keen to try it otherwise. Do you think that ThredUp will gain more popularity over traditional thrift/consignment shops? Do you see it being a different type of innovation when applying a different incumbent, like eBay? Are there any other retail innovators you can think of?

Click Here to Read More about ThredUp

3 Responses to I’m Gonna Pop Some Tags (online): ThredUp Changes the Way People Thrift

  • Interesting perspective,

    The only issue that comes to mind is understanding how sensitive thrift shopping can be. Due to the nature of the clothing that is sold in thrift stores, the tactile feel and experience may not be taken into consideration enough when the development of this platform began. In particular, thrift clothing is a market that seems to be held by people who enjoy the shopping experience and want to touch and feel the clothes they will be purchasing. As long as this particular issue is dealt with, I think there is huge potential here. Thanks for sharing!

  • Thanks for sharing Crystal!

    ThredUp seems to really be improving the customer experience in this low-end market and I’d imagine this will continue to work very well for them. Also I would expect that being the direct sellers of the clothing not only improves the customer experience but also the profit margins compared to other online marketplaces like Ebay and Craigslist. I am curious what would stop other companies that are more established (like Ebay or Amazon) from doing the same thing and how ThredUp would handle this.

  • Hey Crystal! This is such an interesting take on the disruptive innovation concept! I agree with your conclusion that ThredUp has characteristics of a new market innovation. When talking about thrift store shopping, the number one complaint I hear from others is about how long it takes to find items that work for them. In this case, the “feature” that may draw in these potential customers to ThredUp and not incumbents is the organization of products which drastically decreases the time spent searching for items. As for its popularity, I think it offers more value to consumers who prefer to shop quickly and those who are more budget-conscious. As Arlo mentioned above, there are some aspects of having brick-and-mortar stores that ThredUp will not be able to replicate which may prevent it from attracting some of its target market.

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