The North Face revamps resale program

North Face store interior
The North Face is upgrading the technology supporting its resale program.

The North Face is launching a new website and customer experience for its resale offering.

The outdoor apparel and gear retailer is partnering with resale technology provider Archive and clean technology and logistics company Tersus Solutions to upgrade its resale program, known as Renewed. The Renewed offering features a collection of clothing and gear that has been refurbished and remade. By deploying Archive technology, The North Face now has visibility into the full lifecycle of a Renewed item, from warehouse arrival through fulfillment.

The North Face can obtain information on goods in the Renewed supply chain including product identification, cleaning, repairs, and site listing. The retailer leverages this visibility to help ensure that each product receives appropriate attention, such as an item that need repair, compared to one that is in like-new condition ready to be cleaned and listed, or an item that needs to be recycled and not resold.

In addition, The North Face will utilize expanded access to product information to more accurately price pieces for resale, as well as to better understand how products are holding up with time. Ultimately, the retailer intends to enable a data-led feedback loop to product design.

The North Face will also utilize Tersus’ proprietary waterless cleaning technology. Since launching in 2018, The North Face says Renewed has diverted over 200,000 pounds of textiles from landfills, and this next phase is designed to accelerate growth and create larger environmental impacts.

Outdoor retailers get into resale
Increasingly, outdoor gear and apparel retailers are offering resale programs. Out&Back, an online platform that buys and sells new and used outdoor and adventure gear, recently launched a pilot that allows customers to bring select outdoor gear into participating Dick’s Sporting Goods stores and receive a cash payment from Out&Back.

And REI, which initially launched its online “recommerce” (resale) business in 2018, is also actively involved in resale. In October 2019, the retailer piloted a used gear buy-back program with 5,000 members that offered the members REI gift cards when they trade in gently-used outdoor items for resale. The company frames its growing used gear business as part of a broader commitment to sustainability.

“Last year, The North Face announced new environmental commitments, and the prioritization of our circular business models are a big part of making these goals a reality,” said Nicholas Thomas, senior manager of The North Face New Business Models. “We are so excited that by partnering with Tersus Solutions and Archive we will now have access to best-in-class circular operations and technology. Tersus’ proprietary waterless cleaning technology, refurbishment expertise and location in Denver will elevate operations, while Archive’s technology will allow us to modernize The North Face Renewed shopping experience and explore future capabilities such as peer-to-peer selling.”

"I'm thrilled to announce our expanded partnership with The North Face to power Renewed. Archive's technology, combined with Tersus' logistics expertise, bring new data-driven capabilities to the program for efficiency and capacity to scale," said Emily Gittins, CEO and co-founder of Archive. "This partnership also debuts Archive's new full-service resale offering for brands. Our partners can now offer customers a more flexible secondhand experience, with the option of using a peer-to-peer marketplace or managed resale to buy and sell their items. This robust resale model allows brands to further their commitment to sustainability and circularity."

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