- Rent the Runway on Thursday announced that it is doing away with its "Unlimited Swap" subscription option, according to an open letter from CEO Jenn Hyman.
- Beginning next week, the company is introducing a new membership structure with plans that offer up to four, eight or 16 items a month.
- Rent the Runway will no longer accept new members for its Unlimited Swap option starting next week. Those currently utilizing that plan will be able to do so through early 2021, when the new model goes into effect.
Rent the Runway is further tweaking its subscription model, stating that even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, 70% of its Unlimited Swap members were renting fewer than eight items per month.
"With our new subscription structure, these members can opt into a lower-priced plan and receive the same or more items as they did before," Hyman wrote in her open letter to members.
Prior to these latest announced modifications, the company revealed changes to its model back in May when it introduced its "2 Swap plan" for $135 per month. That plan is sticking around, although it is dropping its "2 Swap" name.
Now, customers can pick from a four item plan at $89 per month, an eight item plan at $135 per month or a 16 item plan for $199 a month. The goal, the company said, is to give its members flexibility so that plans meet their "changing lifestyles, needs and budgets."
Members will now have the ability to create their next shipment before their returns are scanned back in so turnaround times are faster. Hyman also said that the changes to the subscription model helps the company with its sustainability goals by reducing its carbon footprint due to fewer overall shipments per customer.
Apparel as a category has been dramatically impacted by the pandemic, with shoppers moving away from more formal clothes due to office closures and canceled events. In the latest report from the U.S. Commerce Department, clothing and accessories were down 24% year over year as a sector. "From our data, occasion wear and workwear are the most badly affected parts of the category and sales here have not recovered after cratering earlier in the year," GlobalData Retail Managing Director Neil Saunders said in emailed comments regarding retail sales.
Rent the Runway has recently made other changes to its business operations, electing to close its brick-and-mortar locations to instead focus on its dropbox network. Retail workers were laid off in March.
"The closure of our retail stores is something we had long considered as part of the evolution of our overall business strategy as the primary use-case of our stores for the past few years has been pick-up and drop-off, and was a decision we accelerated during the pandemic," COO Anushka Salinas said at the time of the announcement.