Brands like Swap Society and Pivot Subscriptions are outstanding examples of how to apply sharing-economy innovations to how retail products are consumed.
Swap Society is a massive clothing-swap network that lets members swap their ill-fitting or pre-loved clothing items for fresh apparel—and they know their audience well. Nicole Roberston, founder and CEO of Swap Society, says sustainability is a driving force behind the brand. She knows that young consumers want their clothes to reflect their values. “The overconsumption of clothing has created an environmental catastrophe, and millennials and Gen Z want to wear a better story,” Robinson says.
Pivot Subscriptions is a Canadian furniture brand that shakes up the conventional retail furniture model. It allows customers to “rent” furniture for a monthly fee that cumulatively never reaches the retail value of the product. Subscribers can also swap any amount of furniture for free after two years (or sooner, for a fee). This aligns with millennials’ desire for flexibility and their support of no-waste retail.
Related: Are subscription services the future of digital retail?
If businesses take anything from these brands, it’s that the sharing economy can apply outside of asset sharing. It might take some imagination and restructuring, but retailers can resonate with millennials in big ways by applying sharing-economy concepts to the way they do business.