Vestiaire Collective: Pre-owned luxury site saves 82% on translation

About Vestiaire Collective

Paris-based Vestiaire Collective is the leading global online marketplace to buy and sell authentic, pre-owned designer clothing and accessories.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods, Technology
Location: France

Vestiaire Collective uses Cloud Translation API to translate item descriptions from six languages into English for better user communication, faster uploads, and reduced translation costs.

Google Cloud Results

  • Enables item description translations from 6 languages into English in near real time
  • Speeds up process of uploading products online from hours to minutes
  • Reduces translation costs for product descriptions by 82% compared to previous service provider

Automates product description translation

By providing authentication services to help ensure its customers can be confident in the quality of the pre-owned luxury items they are buying, online marketplace Vestiaire Collective has grown to become one of the world’s foremost luxury marketplaces. Founded in Paris in 2009 and boasting more than five million community members, with logistics centers in New York, Hong Kong, and France, the website enables fashion enthusiasts to buy or sell rare designer items of clothing and accessories. All items are pre-checked for authenticity and wear before being sent to the buyer.

“As an international marketplace for luxury goods, adhering to the standards of luxury branding is a priority. We want our infrastructure to help us to deliver an experience that feels both cutting-edge and effortless.”

Patrick Hermann, CTO, Vestiaire Collective

In order for sellers to market an item, they upload photographs and a description to the site. Other members can then ask for additional details through a comment function. As members are based in many countries, the site has to translate descriptions to enable buyers and sellers to communicate effectively. “One of our differentiators is the international nature of our community,” says Patrick Hermann, CTO at Vestiaire Collective. “What is no longer fashionable in one part of the globe will certainly be in demand elsewhere.”

To connect its multilingual members, Vestiaire Collective was using a translation company to translate item descriptions, but this service was costly and involved a time lag of several hours to get products online. Vestiaire Collective looked for a solution that could offer high-quality translation quickly, and at a reasonable cost. Cloud Translation API on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) provided the answer.

“As an international marketplace for luxury goods, adhering to the standards of luxury branding is a priority,” explains Patrick. “We want our infrastructure to help us to deliver an experience that feels both cutting-edge and effortless.”

Connecting multilingual members

For a consumer to consumer (C2C) platform, enabling buyers and sellers to communicate quickly and effectively with each other is key to providing efficient services, and growing the company’s market share. “Sellers do the merchandising themselves via the photos of the product and the description of it,” says Patrick. “If the description is not accurately reproduced, it could lead to a miscommunication. That means a potential loss of buyers, so the seller might decide to leave the platform and turn elsewhere. That in turn threatens our ability to assure a new supply of quality items.”

“We were already using it for our product comments and knew that GCP translation technology was sufficiently mature and stable enough for us to make the move. We decided to switch in December 2017, and the migration from our previous partner was extremely simple; it took just two days.”

Patrick Hermann, CTO, Vestiaire Collective

Vestiaire Collective was using a translation company to convert users’ product descriptions into English, then inviting users to translate descriptions into their own language using Google Translate. “It was costing us a lot of money — €500,000 annually — for a pretty limited service,” says Patrick. ”Also, it took several hours for the product information to be uploaded, which meant a potential loss of business for our customers.”

Vestiaire Collective looked for a way to translate the 3,000 to 4,000 product descriptions uploaded every day into English automatically. It also wanted to reduce its costs while maintaining the quality of its service.

To do that, it implemented Cloud Translation API on Google Cloud Platform to automatically translate product descriptions from six languages into English.

“We were already using it for our product comments, and knew that GCP translation technology was sufficiently mature and stable enough for us to make the move,” says Patrick. ”We decided to switch in December 2017, and the migration from our previous partner was extremely simple; it took just two days.”

“We are saving 82% on translation compared to our previous service provider. We want to invest those resources elsewhere, on improving our cloud infrastructure and exploring new tools that we can use.”

Patrick Hermann, CTO, Vestiaire Collective

Maintaining quality

Vestiaire Collective places great emphasis on the quality of its service and the care it takes to verify products, so the quality of the translated product descriptions was also an important consideration.

“We wanted to be sure there would be no negative impact on the quality of the descriptions,” says Patrick. “But even though this technology is much easier, quicker, and cheaper to use, we haven’t seen any negative effect on our conversion rates.”

From €500,000 to €90,000

Thanks to Cloud Translation API, users’ product descriptions are now translated in near real time. “Rather than taking hours to translate descriptions, once they are vetted by our authenticity experts, products can be uploaded almost immediately. We are moving much faster than before,” says Patrick. And in terms of costs, the savings are significant. “We are saving 82% on translation compared to our previous service provider. We want to invest those resources elsewhere, on improving our cloud infrastructure and exploring new tools that we can use.”

Now the company is expanding its use of Cloud Translation API to offer its users complete translated websites in six languages. “The user won’t have to take any additional steps using Google Translate. This move is key to our strategy for growth, as we want to expand our global reach and our network further.”

Among the other AI products Vestiaire Collective is exploring are machine learning and image recognition. “We are looking at how we can use AI to analyze indicators for the desirability of a product or to help with pricing,” says Patrick. “These kinds of tools will be indispensable for the future of the business to stay ahead and get closer to our users.”

About Vestiaire Collective

Paris-based Vestiaire Collective is the leading global online marketplace to buy and sell authentic, pre-owned designer clothing and accessories.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods, Technology
Location: France