Secret Sales is seeing a growing number of fashion brands and retailers switch from traditional clearance channels such as flash sales providers, discount online retailers and wholesale routes as they seek sustainable, brand-enhancing and profitable ways to sell excess stock.
The shift, which Secret Sales reported after one year in business as a premium ecommerce marketplace for fashion and beauty, is changing the fashion clearance landscape as companies move away from viewing the practice in terms of cash recovery and partner with the platform to implement a long-term strategy for non full price inventory that protects brand equity, improves margins and drives new customer acquisition. Over 700 individual brands across 120 retailers and designer houses have gone live with Secret Sales in 12 months of trading, with many appointing the marketplace as their sole or primary clearance channel in the UK.
Rebooting the marketplace
What’s happened is a shift from an antiquated members-only flash sales website to an acquisition by Retail entrepreneurs Chris Griffin and Matt Purt in March 2020, who immediately transitioned the platform into a dedicated marketplace. Superdry, Ted Baker, Jigsaw, GStar and Versace 19v69 are among 700 luxury and high street brands currently featured on the site, offering over 70,000 product lines. Products are displayed in a clean and stylish environment with complementary product and brand adjacencies, away from cluttered listings associated with traditional marketplaces and long delivery times commonly experienced on flash sales websites.
Secret Sales have also recently signed contracts or is in the process of finalising terms with a further 200 brands and retailers to go live over the next year.
Working with fashion companies including Dolce & Gabbana, Dune, Jigsaw, Ted Baker and Yumi, Secret Sales provides a unique, direct-to-consumer digital platform that aligns with each brand’s existing ecommerce and logistics operations, allowing them to sell non full price goods without eroding full-price sales.
“Secret Sales is a long-needed channel to trade promotional inventory earlier in the life of the product rather than having to use brand-damaging closeout channels. We are looking forward to launching two new collections later this month and continuing to build a strong and sustainable trading relationship with the team at Secret Sales.”
– Uttam Nepal, CEO, Yumi International
Secret Sales’ unique marketplace model
Unlike traditional marketplaces, Secret Sales offers partners seamless product and brand adjacencies while enabling them to own the way their brands are presented, giving them the tools to manage stock selection, pricing, images and copy. The platform also provides dedicated online outlet stores to further showcase brand lifestyles. By only working with brands and retailers, Secret Sales is able to merchandise and market discounted products in an upmarket experience that shoppers can view in edits, stories and curated categories.
“Unlike other marketplaces, Secret Sales operate their front end site like a traditional retailer, where they handle the 1st line customer’s services, payment gateways and all digital marketing costs. The back end is a fully integrated, live connected inventory and marketplace model, where brands are in full control of selection, price, images and copy, packaging with no stipulation on carriers used.”
– ChannelAdvisor (who offer brands an integration with Secret Sales)
Orders are shipped from the brand or retailer’s warehouse directly to the customer, enabling deliveries to be managed cost effectively and efficiently while reducing stock movement and carbon footprint.
“Since launching on Secret Sales, we have been delighted with the sales achieved in a very short period of time. The platform is quick to set up and gives us the flexibility to trade stock when we need to, rather than selling in bulk to other businesses at the end of the season. This has meant a better return on margin and faster cash intake into the business. The Secret Sales customer is affluent with a real appetite for luxury goods at more affordable prices, which in today’s economic climate is highly valuable to our brand. The unique way the company passes us customer data in a GDPR compliant way means we are able to elegantly ingratiate our full price products and lifestyle into new gateway consumers. A truly rounded partnership.”
– Matteo Armillotta, CEO, In Moda (global distributor of Versace 19v69)
Secret Sales creates new customers for each brand by sharing GDPR compliant customer data with them for separate full-price retargeting.
“Brands want to protect their image, sales margin and remain in control of inventory, and Secret Sales is the only clearance channel that does all of those things. We’ve solved an age-old boardroom problem by creating the most efficient, brand-enhancing way of selling surplus inventory while introducing new customers. The fashion industry is moving away from conventional routes as they are brand corrosive. The pandemic simply accelerated the inevitable conversation: ‘how do I clear stock without damaging my brand and still make money?’”
– Chris Griffin, CEO, Secret Sales
Over 300,000 SKUs are now live on the site. Secret Sales forecasts one million SKUs by the end of 2021 and the marketplace has been visited by 18 million unique shoppers during its first year.