When Rebag was founded in 2014, the plan was to shake up the luxury goods resale market. Traditionally, this market has worked on a consignment model basis, where the owner of the item decides the price tag, the reseller lists the product, and then the item sits on a shelf until someone is willing to buy it at that price.
However, there are issues with this model. If you're selling luxury goods peer-to-peer, there are questions over how the product is authenticated and whether the authentication is trustworthy. There can also be a lack of transparency over pricing: the owner might want to sell their Rolex watch for $50,000, but the true market value might be closer to $20,000.
Rebag originally launched as an e-commerce site aimed at filling that transparency need in the resale industry. The firm buys and sell luxury goods, but instead of being consigned, Rebag buys items directly from consumers, processes and authenticates items the same day, and pays owners the next business day. Geronimo Chala, Chief Client Officer at Rebag, explains:
We remove that friction inside the resale industry by offering transparent quoting, which is one of our technology pieces that we launched. It allows you to get a quote for your item in a matter of seconds and you have a transparent, fair market value of what that item is valued in the resale market.
We've been able to implement that and make that process very smooth for the consumer. We're buying the product from the consumer, which then makes it a lot easier to sell with authenticity guarantees.
The authentication piece is powered by Clair AI, a piece of software sitting inside Rebag’s Comprehensive Luxury Appraisal Index for Resale (Clair) Technology Suite. The Artificial Intelligence platform can recognize handbags from the top 50 luxury brands across the world, assess their value and present transparent pricing in around 30 – 60 seconds.
This is supplemented by Clair Search: if the item is not identified through the AI, or for accessories like watches or jewelry, the owner selects the size, color, particular brand or model. The system is then able to generate and identify the product, and provide the quote.
Rebag has recently launched its third annual Clair Report, a luxury goods benchmark that uses millions of data points to investigate the value of brands on the resale market, and educates consumers on how the value of items they have invested in are growing year over year. Chala says:
Think about it as the stock market of luxury goods.
The latest addition to the firm’s tech stable is Rebag Wallet, a tool launched in December that stores sellers’ Rebag earnings. When customers use their wallet funds to purchase goods on Rebag, they receive a 10% bonus, and the company will pay out one percent interest per month for up to 12 months on any funds stored in the wallet.
As well as its AI-driven website, Rebag operates 10 stores across the US, where customers can browse, buy or sell designer bags. During the pandemic, a lot of its business moved online, and Rebag was looking to offer customers a more personal experience on the website. Chala says:
When we went through the pandemic, we wanted to ensure that we can still continue that seamless experience that individuals were receiving inside stores as well as online.
Rebag came across Intercom’s business messaging solution, and started off with a simple business model for the technology - to engage and convert customers now they are shopping online. The firm spent quite a bit of time researching, exploring and trying out a couple of different platforms, but at that time the digital chat world wasn't fully developed to engage customers holistically, Chala recalls:
Most of them were more like support triage. Intercom was one of these platforms that wasn't only about customer issues or support needed. Not only is it powerful in building loyalty and brand value but it was also something that deeply engaged that customer. When you're connecting with them on a more personable level, that’s going to improve your conversion rates.
As the firm started to reopen its stores to the public, Rebag started to branch out and test the system for melding the two experiences. Chala explains:
Once the stores started to reopen and the public started to reopen, there was this balance of people who wanted to shop online but still have that in-person experience. Intercom has allowed us to merge this physical and digital world, to not only take the data from experiences that you're having online but then it informs us of what is it that you're interested in as we come into the physical world. Because we know that our customers end up living in both worlds.
Rebag has been using Intercom technology for just a little over two years. Previously, it was using a more traditional CRM system that was collecting data, and sending out text messages and emails. But the messages sent weren’t allowing the business to fully communicate or engage with customers. Rebag added Intercom into its tech stack to help create and convert the personal experience for customers switching between in-store and online. Chala says:
Let's say you walked into one of our stores in New York. We collected the data you gave us, name, email. We were able to create an account for you in store so that you can track some prices or continue your shopping online from home. When I send you an email, we track and utilize that UTM source. When you click that link, we're able to identify that you are someone who was inside one of our stores and we had certain data about your favorites or items that you looked at or maybe your interest in selling versus buying an item.
Within that UTM source and that email when you click the link and you come back onto Intercom, we're able to personalize that message and make it seem like you're still being assisted by the same person that was in that store and deeply connect with the consumer over items they loved or talked about in store. It helps us navigate the individual through the site in a really personable way.
Integration with its existing tech stack was a key decision factor in choosing Intercom. The original work to connect Intercom to Rebag’s Shopify system, start collecting data and connect it to its website took just two weeks.
The technology has already reduced Rebag’s costs. Customers can contact the firm via email, text or online 24/7, and Intercom’s Resolution Bot has brought savings on employee costs as the system can solve most inquiries without the need for staff intervention. Chala notes:
The luxury of it was being able to save on those overhead costs but our customers can communicate to us around the clock.
Conversion rates have also increased, which has benefits for client acquisition costs and revenues.
Whether it’s a bot or an actual agent that's online, we see our conversion metrics about 2.6 points higher than our traditional e-commerce conversion without the chat platform.