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Zalando to launch second-hand fashion platform in Belgium

15:46 22/09/2020

Belgians will soon be able to buy and swap clothes they do not wear any more via Europe’s largest e-commerce retailer Zalando. The German company announced that, from October, its ‘Pre-owned’ platform for second-hand goods, launched in Germany and Spain on 21 September, will also be available in Belgium – as well as France, the Netherlands and Poland.

Pre-owned customers use the site in three ways: to exchange items, sell them (receiving a gift voucher corresponding to the sale value); or donate the sale money to charity (either the Red Cross or the forest restoration organisation WeForest).

For Zalando vice president of recommerce Torben Hansen, Pre-owned “is not trying to compete with the second-hand Wild West”. Its customers - Zalando’s target market of millennials born between the early 1980s and the late 1990s – can expect the same experience whether they buy new or used, he says: “We believe by doing that we can really bring Pre-owned to the mainstream consumer.”

The success in Belgium of Lithuania’s online selling, purchasing and swapping marketplace Vinted shows that the sale of second-hand clothes is an expanding market. In April 2019, the platform had 21 million users worldwide, with 23,000 more added every day.

Analysts say that selling used garments will allow companies like Zalando mainly to gather data on potential customers and their wardrobe. Actual profit from second-hand purchases will remain quite small, at least at the beginning.

Zalando says advantages of its new platform (H&M-owned Cos introduced its online resale site earlier this month) are that it will reach the company’s 34 million clients across 17 countries; it is easy to use and it has a free shipping and return service.

In line with Zalando’s sustainable goals to prolong the life of 50 million articles and cut single-use plastic by 2023, the German firm has also promised to send parcels plastic-free, by wrapping the clothes in recycled paper.

And by offering customers at least the chance of donating to charities instead of pocketing the money, Zalando will counteract criticism of companies like Vinted, that the new platform will stop people donating their unworn or no longer wanted clothes to social economy and non-profit organisations like Terre asbl, Les Petits Riens or Oxfam.