Updated: August 14
It’s been more than six months since we temporarily closed our five Rent the Runway store locations due to COVID-19. Like many businesses affected by the ongoing pandemic, we had to make the tough decision to move forward with retail role eliminations at that time to safeguard the future of our staff and business. We eliminated all retail roles in early March, and took great care to make the transitions as seamless as possible for our incredible teams, from compensation and severance to continuation of health insurance benefits.
And now, we’ve made another difficult decision: to not reopen our stores in the future, and transition our NYC location into a drop-off only center. While this is something we have long considered as part of the evolution of our business strategy and physical footprint in the long term, it doesn’t make the decision any easier that the unforeseen impacts of COVID-19 rapidly accelerated our decision making process.
When we first launched Rent the Runway retail stores, we never sought out to create a traditional brick-and-mortar store experience. Our stores were a community gathering space where customers came to not shop, so we focused on providing a high touch, try-on experience for special occasion rentals.
As our business has evolved from one-time rentals to a subscription service, we also evolved our retail store locations to better serve our customers. Instead of visiting our stores occasionally to try on something for a special occasion, our members were visiting us weekly to drop-off their rentals — everything from weekend wear to workwear — in order to immediately rent something new and skip the entire mail-in return process.
To support this desired experience for our customers, we built the proprietary technology of our first RTR Drop-off Boxes, self-service kiosks where customers were able to scan in their rentals to return them and instantly open new spots to rent new items. This quickly changed how people interacted with our stores. Not surprisingly, 91% of our store customers used our retail locations for the sole purpose to drop off items.
With customers in 76% of US zip codes and RTR stores in only 5 of them, less than 15% of our customers were served by our stores — but the drop-off capability was so loved by them. That’s when we knew we had to bring this convenience to even more customers by expanding our Drop-off Box network through key partnerships and retailers.
In 2018, we partnered with select WeWork offices across the country in highly central locations. In 2019, we teamed up with select West Elm and Nordstrom locations to do the same. And in 2020, we — and the rest of the world — took a pause for the health and safety of our teams, customers and community.
As we now slowly return to a new normal, we know the decision to shift our store strategy by focusing on RTR Drop-off Box locations is the right one. For years, we’ve seen the power in these more convenient ways to return and the impact they have on the renting experience. Now, we are investing all our time and resources into expanding our program in the near-term with new locations being added in key markets in the coming months.
We will miss the IRL moments with our members but are excited to move the RTR community online — where it’s stronger than ever. In addition to our Instagram and social community, we’re testing 1:1 digital styling sessions with our brand ambassadors and virtual events like live chats and member takeovers. We will continue to find new ways to connect during this time, and look forward to the day when we can be with our community again safely.
For more information on our drop-off only New York location, find opening hours and safety measure below:
OPEN FOR DROP-OFF ONLY
Last Updated: August 12, 2020
NEW YORK: NOW OPEN FOR DROP-OFF SERVICE ONLY
Starting July 20th, our 15th St Flagship store offers drop-off only return service.
You’ll notice some new safety measures at our revamped location to ensure the health of our customers, team and the NYC community:
- Social distance guide markers for your space and safety.
- Regular cleaning and disinfection of all surfaces and digital screens.
- Hand sanitizer available during your visit.
- Masks will be worn by all RTR staff. For the safety of our team and other guests, we ask all customers to also wear a face covering.
- Associates will scan in rentals for you, immediately opening up spots so you can swap for new styles on the RTR app.
Visit Us: 30 W. 15th Street New York, NY 10011
Services: Drop-off returns only
SANTA MONICA @ WEST ELM
1427 4th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Formerly located at 228 Grant Avenue, Floors 2 & 3, San Francisco, CA 94108
Formerly located at 3336 M St NW, Washington, DC 20007
Formerly located at 710 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60611