How modern online businesses can succeed in recommerce

June 5, 2020
It’s official – buying secondhand is cool (and has been for a while now). The trend, lead by Gen Z and millennial shoppers, has grown exponentially in popularity over the past few years. Young consumers care about sustainability. They want to be unique. And they often shop for the experience, rather than the product. For them, recommerce checks all the right boxes.
For businesses all over the world, the popularity of the resale market presents huge opportunities. Not only can you start clearing out those returned products from your warehouse, but you can also capture an entirely new audience, boost revenue, and reduce waste. In fact, 72% of resale shoppers have shifted their buying habits away from new and towards used items as of 2018. In order to reap these benefits, recommerce needs to be done right.
In this article, we’ll provide you with four tips to help your business master the art of recommerce.

Ensure crystal clear, complete, and honest product information

Imagine you’re shopping for a new TV. You’d probably want to know the brand, screen size, whether it’s HD or Ultra HD, how many HDMI ports it has, etc. Now let’s imagine you’re on the market for a refurbished TV. On top of the information mentioned above, you’d also want to what condition it’s in, what (if any) repairs have been done, if any parts are missing, etc. If the condition wasn’t specified or if it turned out to be incorrect, you’d be pretty upset, right?
We all know that online shoppers are information hungry, but recommerce shoppers are even hungrier. To make an educated buying decision, they need to know the original product specs, the current state of the product, and why it’s on the resale market, and even the retail price. In fact, 40% of consumers now consider the resale value of an item before buying it. Is it just leftover stock? Was it returned? Is it faulty? Being open, honest, and complete will limit returns and increase satisfaction and informed purchases.

Know your audience and their expectations

This ties into the previous tip, but it’s well worth looking into with more depth. The best way to succeed in recommerce is to know exactly who you are selling to and what they want. Of course, your audience will vary by the channel as will their expectations. But it’s important to understand who, in general, recommerce shoppers are. Or rather, how ecommerce shoppers think when shopping resale.

Gen Z and Millennials are driving the trend

The secondhand apparel market alone is expected to hit a value of 32 billion USD by the end of this year. And it’s Gen Z and Millenials driving the growth. According to a resale study, they’re adopting secondhand apparel 2.5x faster than other age groups – with Gen Z showing a 46% growth over the course of just two years. Keep these demographics in mind when defining your resale messaging strategy.

They’re eco-minded

Today’s consumers are more aware than ever of their environmental impact. So much so that sustainability now plays a big role in their buying preferences and decisions. One study found that 72% of shoppers said that they prefer to support environmentally friendly brands. Moreover, 59% of consumers full-on expect businesses to monitor their ethics and sustainability and 60% have said they’d be more loyal to a brand that offers recycling programs.
“Shopping ethically has often been perceived as luxury, because of the price points… the good news is that we now live in the golden age of secondhand shopping.” - Elizabeth Segran, Fast Company

Get the right products on the right channels

Not every channel will accept resale items and not every resale product will sell well online. This is why it’s important to get to know the available shopping and advertising channels as well as the current demands. Check out social media to keep yourself up-to-date on the latest trends and products.
Here are some examples of where you’ll find secondhand products listed.
Resale_channel_logos Keep in mind, these are only a few of the many, many channels available out there. So prepare to do some research to find out which ones are best suited for your products and business.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, selling your overstock, returned, out-of-season, or used items online is a win-win. If done strategically, recommerce sales can easily turn into a pretty stable additional revenue stream for your business.
Want tips on how to prep the perfect product feed for a resale channel? We’d be happy to help!
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Gina Beach
Senior Content & Copywriter