What’s Going On at The RealReal?

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One thing about social media algorithms is that you watch something once, and it stays with you.

You watch something twice, and suddenly, it becomes your whole personality. Thus, it is thanks to the latter that the question at hand is being asked.

What is going on with the luxury resale platform The RealReal?

Early last month, an attention-grabbing video dated February 3rd, emblazoned with The RealReal is Fake Fake, gained traction on TikTok, garnering over half a million views with an engaging audience leaving a whopping 1,860 comments.

A Real Scam?

The 2-minute, 50-second video was posted by a consigner who sent in a brand new with tags unworn Zimmermann dress to sell on TRR (retail $2,100). Following her original video, user @sage__haley chronicled her experience in a series of 4 videos of what ensued during the selling period and thereafter with customer support.

She explained how, over the course of 6 weeks, the selling price of her dress continued to decline, including after one buyer returned the dress to TRR, this time in worn condition, resulting in a commission of only $184.

After various communications with TRR’s customer support team and attempts to right the wrong (they offered a $50 credit but eventually sent the seller the dress back, one that, ironically, was the incorrect size), the experiences still left the consignor at a monetary loss, and a pact to never again sell to TRR.

While, yes, bad experiences do happen from time to time, this consignor is not the only seller to swear off TRR.

In fact, the swarm of comments this user received is packed full of other bad experiences. Not to mention, the app itself has become a dumping ground for story times laden with quality issues, supposed fakes, and selling prices that seem too bad to be true.

Can The RealReal Get It Together?

This isn’t the first time TRR has come under fire; in fact, The Cut published an expose back in 2022, yet the bad experiences have continued. Still, the company promises its profitability, having undergone a complete overhaul of its business model.

That overhaul is all about efficiency and better operational practices. Two things that COO Rati Levesque explains are setting up TRR for a bright future, telling Forbes, “Our business has always been about sustainability and keeping goods out of landfills. But our P&L wasn’t so sustainable. Now we can double down on the sustainability message all around.”

Founded in 2011, The RealReal announced its IPO in 2019 and recently made headlines for reporting profitability for the first time since going public in 2019. Still, its business relies on not only its buyers but also its consignors, who provide in-demand products for sale.

In the age of social media, a few viral bad experiences are enough to halt even the loyalists. Though TRR has reported that business is on the uptick, with its reputation consistently under fire, can The RealReal, which has its sights set on retail growth, stay afloat?

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