The RealReal’s CEO on Turning the Luxury Resale Company Around

By John Mercury August 26, 2023

A lot of those have gone away for the most part. Now, it’s really, “You used to take this designer, you won’t anymore. Why won’t you?” In a perfect world, we’d say, “OK, we will take everything.” But there’s an economic reality, right?

I’ll give you an example. Certain brands of jeans we used to be able to sell for over $100. Now you just can’t get the same return for them. So instead of upsetting you by us taking them and selling them for way less than you want, we’re just telling you now we don’t take them.

What’s the plan for the RealReal to use artificial intelligence?

The first was authenticating the merchandise. The second was pricing the merchandise. Where we’re spending more time now is where can we, at intake, start with a picture of a good and right there we can say, “Have we seen this good before?” “I already recognize that pattern, so now I don’t have to write all the copy. I don’t have to take all the measurements unless we perceive that it’s been altered.”

It still needs to go through authentication, but we can send it down a different lane where instead of each piece that we receive being a one-off, now all of a sudden we’re starting to batch things together. We can do those kinds of things and reduce operational costs.

Dupes have become a bigger conversation in the industry this year. Before your time at the company, there was reporting about the RealReal selling inauthentic items on its platform. How you are currently guarding against that?

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