Will Clothing Rental Make Its Way to Promotional Apparel?
Rent the Runway was the first major company to launch the clothing rental model. The concept is simple: Shoppers pick out an apparel item they like, choose the size, select the dates they need the outfit, pay a fee, and the item is sent to their door. After the purchaser has worn the outfit, she sends it back.
In this era, many people are gravitating toward this model because it gives them a chance to expand their wardrobe without paying a premium. If someone is attending a wedding and they need a dress that they have no intention of ever wearing again, a model like this is ideal.
Now that Rent the Runway has proven its success in the marketplace, other retailers are getting in on the rental game. According to AdWeek, Express announced it launched Express Style Trial where shoppers can spend $69.95 a month to rent three pieces from the brand. New York & Co announced the launch of NY&C Closet for $49 a month for a similar three-product rental. And Ann Taylor launched a service called Infinite Style, which gives purchasers access to unlimited clothing rentals for $95 a month.
It's too early to say whether or not this model will extend to promotional apparel any time soon, but we think there's some potential there. It seems like it could be a fit for brands that are already upping their branded merchandise offering and want to target younger audiences with a fun spin on the sharing economy. A Taco Bell apparel rental program doesn't seem so farfetched given the brand's other forays into merchandise.
Obviously, it would be a little difficult to apply this model to branded merchandise as a whole. However, there might be a recyclable initiative that could be applied for companies that know they will only use the apparel items once.