Vinted: the digital second-hand clothing platform that is turning heads around the world
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We observe that nowadays the circular economy is a growing trend, and so is the presence of online channels to perform the buying and selling process. Now more than ever, we sense both a stronger fashion culture and a sensitivity to waste and environmental impact.
But 13 years ago, launching an all-digital second-hand shopping portal was an innovative and therefore bold idea.
If we look at the company’s development, we can point out some highlights that have helped it become the industry leader.
The beginning of real success: the birth of the Vinted mobile application
After three years of running its commercial operation on the internet, Vinted realised in 2012 that its traffic and revenue could increase exponentially if it also moved its services to the booming mobile devices.
This led to the idea of creating an app for Vinted. At this time, the brand already had a large customer base, and the concept of the mobile app was well received by them.
Prior to the app’s launch, 80% of traffic came from the desktop web and the rest from mobile web browsing. Shortly after the app’s launch, Vinted noticed a major shift in traffic: up to 30% of traffic came from the just-released app.
A change in the business model for the company to thrive
In 2016, Thomas Plantenga, CEO of Vinted, decided to change the business model by lowering the commissions on online transactions. He did this by removing the seller’s commission and taking on the buyer’s commission.
This strategy was well received by the company’s customers, and this was followed by accelerated growth in certain regions of Europe: France became Vinted’s most profitable market of all its operating countries; to the extent that the number of users rose from 12 to 16 million between 2020 and 2021.
The French market is a powerhouse that has developed a particular interest in second-hand consumption; on the one hand to because of sustainability and ecology concerns, and on the other hand, because of the savings made by making such purchases.
Thomas Plantenga claims that French consumers need to “educate” the rest of Europe on how to integrate the circular economy and second-hand clothing consumption into their shopping habits.
Covid-19: A source for growth
On the other hand, it is worth noting the growth of Vinted during the 2020 lockdown. the Lithuanian start-up observed a 16 to 17% increase in the number of items put online on its second-hand clothing sales platform. The reason for those improvements is due, according to Plantenga, to the number of people staying home during these months, but it is also the organic consequence of years of development.
Taking inspiration from the greatest
A few months ago, the company decided to follow in Amazon’s footsteps in creating and installing lockers in supermarkets, enabling consumers to deposit their sales and pick up their orders.
Amazon launched its “Amazon Locker” service back in 2011, but the concept is the same. When a customer chose to have their order delivered to an Amazon Locker, they were sent a pick-up code by email or text message. They had 3 working days to go to their locker, type or scan the collection code on the screen, and collect their package.
Thanks to this initiative, the process of sending and collecting parcels is simplified. On one hand, it is up to the buyer to collect the item at his or her convenience.
On the other hand, the environmental impact is greatly reduced by limiting the number of boxes and cartons in constant circulation.
Today, Vinted is present in 17 countries and has over 37 million users in Europe.
Why is it interesting?
What is interesting, after observing Vinted’s trajectory and evolution, is how the company’s founders were able to anticipate the success of the second-hand market and the trend towards circular consumption that would come years later.
Moreover, it is worth noting the risk taken by launching a fully digital “shop” in 2009, when it was still uncommon to imagine a business, especially in the textile sector, moving away from physical contact.
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