When you love the platform but the brand is an enigma!

Overheard at TVE London HQ:

“Thanks, I got it on Vinted, only £8!”,

“I just sold something on Vinted!”

“Can anyone help me make my Vinted listings better to improve my sales?”.

The second-hand buying and selling category has expanded in leaps and bounds in recent years, with sustainability and affordability rising to the top of consumers’ minds, coupled with influencers and celebrities debunking of any existing stigma over buying ‘pre-loved’ fashion.
It’s easier, and cooler than ever to engage with slow, sustainable fashion.

But the expanding category doesn’t translate to success for all second-hand fashion players. While Vinted has reported a 61% rise in sales this year and its first profit since 2008, competitors are scrambling to keep up, with Depop, Poshmark and TheRealReal reporting losses.

Vinted’s success can’t simply be attributed to getting its fair share of a growing category, else competitors like Depop and Vestiaire would be equally reaping the benefits of this shift in attitudes. There must be something else that’s driving the accelerated growth.

Could it simply be its ‘Entertainment Factor’? Users can focus on the fun, without any of the gripes and frustrations that we often experience shopping online elsewhere: Might not fit? Sellers are happy to advise on the chat. Too expensive? Send an offer…and so on. I for one have started browsing Vinted with the same knee-jerk reflex that I’d browse Instagram in a moment of boredom. Engaging with the platform, whether buying or selling, taps into that instant gratification that many modern-day consumers love.

Maybe it’s a genuine UX superiority? Vinted has succeeded in addressing barriers to uploading items to sell (AI driven category, colour and brand predictions), searching to buy (simple and intuitive filtering), and shipping post-sale (integrated postage labels and instructions) that continues to be clunky on platforms like Ebay.

The social element of Vinted has even transcended its own app, overflowing organically into other social media platforms, with Vinted hauls gaining traction on TikTok, or expert Vinted-ers posting tips for nabbing the best bargains on their Instagram stories. Even offline there’s a strong social currency, with users proud to tell their peers about their most recent treasure.

My only question mark around Vinted’s continued growth is a brand one. To me, it’s a platform (a GREAT one, admittedly), but if others up their game from a product perspective, then where does Vinted go for growth? Who is Vinted? I don’t really know yet. If customer acquisition tails off, I can’t help but think that hosting ads and sponsored content will be where they turn to for revenue.

As Vinted navigates its future and the category races towards the mainstream, its ability to define a distinct brand identity will be crucial in adding reasons beyond the functional for consumers to continue their pre-loved journey with this brand, not just any brand.

By: Becky Grottick

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