The RealReal is a great place for luxury consignment. You can send your luxury goods to The RealReal and earn cash or site credit when they sell.
There are many benefits of selling your items on consignment, rather than listing and selling them yourself. Consignment is a great way to send your items off to a third party to do the work and receive commission for your sale.
In fact, many resellers have adopted consignment selling as a part of their business model. If you can source items inexpensively, have someone else sell them, and still profit from your payout, this model can be incredibly lucrative.
There are many places to sell your items on consignment including as a private consignment client, ThredUp, and brick-and-mortar consignment shops.
Let’s explore how The RealReal works, and how you can consign your luxury items.
What is The RealReal?
The RealReal “TRR” is a consignment marketplace for staff-authenticated designer and luxury goods. The RealReal sells consigned mens and womens contemporary, luxury and marquee clothing, fine jewelry, watches, shoes, handbags and upscale home decor.
TRR will sell your items for you, in exchange for a fee, and pay you the rest of the sale price.
Fun Fact: The RealReal promotes circular fashion and sustainability. TRR has offset 59,374 metric tons of carbon and saved 3.1 billion liters of water and counting! Each individual can see their contribution based on the items they have sold in their consignor dashboard.
Consigning with The RealReal is a simple 3 step process:
Sign up, and send in your items (or schedule a pick-up or in-person drop off at The RealReal distribution center).
TRR will inspect, authenticate, photograph and list your items for sale.
Get paid once your items sell.
Okay, maybe it's not that simple, and you might have a few questions. When you consign with TRR, you’re assigned a personal account manager to support you through the process and answer any questions you may have.
How Does The RealReal Work?
First, note that TRR is a marketplace that specializes in and accepts contemporary and high-end luxury designer items. You can see a full list of accepted brands here. Note that the brand list is exclusive and the items must be in acceptable condition according to their standards pictured here.
TRR experts will examine and authenticate the items you’ve sent in. Those that make the cut are then listed for sale on their website and stored at their warehouse facility. The items that don’t make the cut are those that aren’t accepted brands or are in poor condition. If TRR rejects your item they will ship your items back to you. Receiving your items back can typically take 7-10 business days.
Fun Fact: According to TRR’s 2022 Luxury Consignment Report, the best-selling brands on The RealReal are Gucci, Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Rag & Bone, and Tory Burch. The best-selling category is dresses.
Once your item is accepted it moves through the production pipeline in order to go live on the website. Your item is first received at a RealReal distribution center and then makes its way to the Authentication department where an expert will evaluate your item, determine if it’s real for real, and assign its details for the product description including pricing. Your item is then photographed and put away to be stored until it sells. You can expect your item to be live on the site usually within 14 days from delivery to the warehouse.
From your account, you can check on the status of your items and see the listings:
You can see the price adjustments and the details of your sales and payout once completed.
The RealReal Fees: How Do You Get Paid on The RealReal?
The RealReal fee structure is fairly complex. The Commission Guide is based on multiple factors including your rank, and the type of item.
First, your rank refers to your position in The RealReal rewards program. Essentially, the more you sell, the higher your rank, and you can receive many benefits including lower commission fees.
Here are the current tiers on TRR rewards program.
Next, the commission structure depends upon the type of item. The consignment fees differ based on the category including clothing, handbags, fine jewelry, watches, and more.
The commission structure changes often, click here for real-time, interactive charts to explain the fees based on category.
There is no easy percentage to report; how much TRR takes depends entirely upon your tier and the type of item, with commission ranging from twenty percent to seventy percent.
How Does The RealReal Price Items?
Of course, how your items are priced affects how much you can expect to make per item as well. The brand and condition of your item will contribute to your payout.
The RealReal uses a pricing formula that is based on brand and level of condition. Here is an inside look on how The RealReal prices items for sale. Currently, they categorize items into the following:
Contemporary Brands are lower-tier items, such as a Rag & Bone T-Shirt.
Luxury Items are higher-end designer pieces, such as a Marni sweater.
Marquee Items are the most luxurious and valuable, such as a Chanel handbag.
For example, this YSL cardholder is a luxury item listed with a ‘very good’ condition that sold for $156 (with a 20% discount). The consignor made $78 on the sale.
These categorizations, paired with condition and desirability, determine how items are priced on The RealReal. Learn more about TRR’s data-driven pricing strategy here.
Fun Fact: Under the new tier structure, consignors are earning more per item than ever at The RealReal.
How Do Sales Work on The RealReal?
TRR pricing is fully at their discretion; they determine the initial sale price, they may include the item in sales, coupons, and discounts, and they can change the price as well. If you are particular about your item's price, speak to your assigned luxury manager regarding Price Approval. Depending on the item and price point TRR can set a price that must be reviewed and approved by the consignor.
Be mindful of this when considering your potential return on investment (ROI) of your items. While they do all the work, they make most of the money on most pieces as well.
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How Do I Get Paid By The RealReal?
Once your item is sold and received by the buyer, your funds will become available (provided there are no issues or returns).
Consignors get paid monthly by The RealReal, so you might have to wait a bit longer than you would on other resale platforms. For example, if you sell an item in November, you will be paid on December 15.
You can opt-into direct deposit, request a paper check or choose to receive site credit. A check will take up to 5-7 business days and incurs a $5 processing fee. Or, if you decide to take a site-credit, you get 5% more to spend on TRR (pretty clever).
Is The RealReal Legit?
Many resellers have had a great experience selling and buying with the RealReal. Some even say it’s an addiction they can’t quit. However, no business is perfect; The RealReal reviews suggest many consignors have reported some issues with their items and that it can be difficult to resolve issues through customer service. Be sure to be diligent and closely monitor your listings.
If you have access to premium inventory with a low cost of goods, consigning with The RealReal can be very lucrative and easy. But, you play a risky game when you send your items off to someone else with no guarantee as to your potential ROI. Learn more about other types of consignment selling here.
If you want to yield all of the profit yourself, consider cross-listing your inventory. With Vendoo, you can list your items on multiple marketplaces with just a few clicks! Check out the free trial today!