If you’re a Walmart shopper, here’s some good news. Starting this week, while you’re ordering groceries and BBQ supplies online, you can also add pre-owned Reebok sneakers or a secondhand Anna Sui dress to your cart.
Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has partnered with ThredUp, the world’s largest resale marketplace, to make secondhand items available on Walmart.com, which features a ThredUp microsite. Customers can add these items to their cart to reach Walmart’s free shipping threshold of $35. ThredUp will ship products directly from its warehouses, but customers will be able to return items at Walmart stores or online via ThredUp. (For now, only women’s and children’s items are for sale, and they aren’t available in Walmart stores.)
ThredUp is essentially a consignment platform that launched a decade ago. It allows people to send in bags of clothes, shoes, and accessories using a free shipping label; if anything sells, they get a payout. These days, it receives about 100,000 items a day that it sorts and prices in one of its five warehouses around the country; it then photographs and uploads images of each item. (They can be returned within two weeks.)
Over the last few years, ThredUp has partnered with retailers and brands such as eBay, Macy’s, Gap, and Madewell. It gives these companies access to its operational expertise—including receiving, pricing, and packaging—and gives them a cut of the revenues, which have not been disclosed.
In some cases, as with Madewell, it selects used products exclusively from the brand, but with multi-brand retailers, it curates products that would be relevant to that customer base. Some of the secondhand items available at Walmart.com are Walmart’s private-label brands, Time and Tru and George, along with Walmart-exclusive brands such as Sofia Jeans by Sofia Vergara. But there are many other brands represented in the mix, including Coach, Michael Kors, and Calvin Klein. ThredUp has selected clothes and shoes that it deems “new” or “like new” for the site; accessories and handbags that are “gently used” will also be included.
This move is part of a broader trend in the world of retail. Brands such as Patagonia, REI, and Eileen Fisher now sell secondhand items from previous seasons on their websites and in stores. As I have reported before, all of these companies have partnered with a company called Trove, which manages logistics, so their resale marketplace looks like an extension of their brand. ThredUp, on the other hand, sets up its own storefront on other brands’ websites.
For Walmart, this partnership creates another revenue stream. It also means that customers who want to buy secondhand fashion items don’t need to navigate to a different site. They can add a pair of pre-owned Zara heels to the cart, then go right back to buying milk and laundry detergent.