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Zoa, the UK’s leading fashion rental technology platform, has launched Rental Lab, a new innovation programme for fashion brands.

The aim of the programme is to define what an optimal circular commerce customer experience looks like, which will guide the evolution of its existing white-label solution.

Zoa Rental Lab claims to be the first UK initiative of its kind and hopes to bring the UK’s fashion retailers together to shape the future of sustainable commerce.

It aims to solve the existing challenges by putting the customer at the centre of the problem, and to create a streamlined experience across both circular models – rental and resale.

Zoa says that through a series of workshops Zoa and Rental Lab participants will define what technology is needed to facilitate the rapid acceleration of circular business models and the programme is due to start in the coming weeks.

Shan Mandora, head of commercial at Zoa Rental explains: “We’re very excited to kick off Rental Lab and to have participation from major brands. It’s clear that we need to build tech solutions that power circular experiences that consumers love, and that are easy for brands to adopt – and we can do this most effectively by working collaboratively with some of the biggest brands in the world.”

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By GlobalData

Models such as rental and resale are increasingly being adopted by fashion brands in a bid to hit sustainability goals that require 20% of items to be traded via circular models by 2030.

Zoa says brands that launch a rental or resale service are faced with the choice of multiple providers, rather than a single comprehensive solution across both models that is compatible with their existing retail solution.

Zoa points out this technology is often developed without input from the brands or retailers that will be using it. The result is a less-than-slick customer experience, with customers typically being directed away from retailers’ flagship sites, and a myriad of processes and propositions available, acting as a barrier to the shift towards circularity.

Zoa launched in 2021 as a white-label rental-as-a-service offer spun out of the UK’s rental platform Hirestreet. It provides technology, operations and strategic support for retailers looking to launch a rental service and currently powers French Connection Rental, Hirestreet, Rathbones Tailor, Cameron Ross, Taite Ro, CLOAN and DCEY.