Trend Alert: Adla

Voxburner Content Team

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Trend Alert introduces you to the latest trends that are impacting the daily lives of 16-24s.

A new retail startup is enabling some of the world’s biggest brands to sell directly to college students in their own homes. Adla drops off bags filled with a curated selection of clothes from a variety of Gen Z’s favourite brands, giving students two days to try on the items and decide which to keep. There’s no upfront fee, with customers only required to pay for the clothes they keep. So far, Adla is active at three US colleges with plans to launch in many more this year. They collaborate with local student brand ambassadors (known as Adla Angelz) to encourage more students to get involved.

As all participating students at each college get their “Adla drop” at the same time, this creates a communal experience much like that of going to the mall with friends, getting instant feedback as they try on clothes. This is something that is often missing when they shop online – sharing products in the group chat just isn’t quite the same. After two days, Adla collects the clothes and sends the students a link to pay for the items they decided to keep. According to CEO Holly Leslie, speaking in a recent Clubhouse chat on the topic of Gen Z and Fashion Retail, the average conversion rate is an impressive 64%.

While there is a $3 fee per item they keep, charged on top of the original retail price to cover delivery and processing costs, Adla’s business model isn’t geared towards making money from consumers but instead as a service for brands to get their products into the homes of their target market: Gen Z fashion lovers. So far, brands whose products have featured in Adla drops include some of the biggest among this demographic, from established names like Nike and Zara to fast-growing online retailers such as Princess Polly and sustainable fashion brand Reformation.

For fashion brands, particularly those with a strong ecommerce business, offering free returns and “buy now pay later” options has been a successful sales driver with young consumers. However, this leaves many brands worrying that customers are treating them as a free rental service, wearing an outfit once then returning it. Rather than going against the tide, brands need to recognise trends like this and look at how they can capitalise on them, and Adla is a great example of this approach in action. Understanding that students like to try before they buy, they have turned this into a business model – an opportunity for brands to get the attention of influential young consumers and be part of a positive, social shopping experience.

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