June 28, 2022
Shein has become “the most searched (clothing) retailer” and the most downloaded app in America, according to UBS Evidence Lab’s Global App Monitor, even though it does not operate any physical stores in the United States. The Chinese fast-fashion giant has also gotten on the wrong side of thredUP, the largest online consignment store.
Last week, ThredUP sent push notifications to customers in the San Francisco Bay Area asking them to pledge not to shop at Shein’s pop-up store in the Embarcadero Center between the 24th and June 26. The resale site also offered new customers the opportunity to take the 40% commitment. on their first purchase plus free shipping for not making pop-up purchases.
Erin Wallace, vice president of integrated marketing at thredUP, said RetailWire that the campaign was about something bigger than targeting Shein.
“It’s about educating and helping consumers,” Ms. Wallace said. “As one of the world’s largest online resale platforms, we’re on a mission to fight fashion waste and inspire a new generation to think second-hand first. Shein lists every thousands of new styles are emerging, encouraging endless consumption and creating disposable fashion waste.Their business model is the antithesis of circularity.
ThredUP, however, does not seek to enter into the practice of publicly calling for retailer boycotts, preferring collaboration to confrontation.
“We value our relationships with retailers and believe the entire industry benefits when resale and retail work together,” Ms. Wallace said. “Our ultimate goal is to extend the life of as many garments as possible and keep items in closets and out of landfills. ThredUP’s resale-as-a-service platform enables resale experiences for some of the world’s leading retailers in service of this mission.
ThredUP didn’t expect to shut down Shein’s pop-up store with its campaign in San Francisco, but it’s looking to change the way consumers and the merchants who serve them think about clothing.
“Our lofty goal is to shift the production of new clothes so that in the future we collectively reuse more clothes than we produce new,” she said. “We’re happy to spark conversation and provide education on how harmful brands like Shein really are harmful to the planet. We believe that individual actions can have a collective impact; if we can convince even a few fast fashion shoppers to go thrift, we’ll be that much closer to creating a circular future for fashion.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see a role in retail marketing for companies to compare and contrast their practices with those of their competitors for environmental, social and governance reasons? Do you see any risks for retailers and brands taking strong ESG positions at a time when society is more polarized on issues such as reproductive health, guns, environment, etc. ?
“Do you see a role in retail marketing for companies to compare and contrast their practices with their competitors for environmental, social and governance reasons?”