That the eCommerce industry is growing in leaps and bounds should come as no surprise. But reCommerce? That’s an interesting part of the story. This subset of online retail is growing five times faster than off-price retailers, and 20 times faster than the broader retail market. The industry is largely driven by Generation Z and Millennials, who are more likely to purchase second-hand luxury goods like handbags, jewelry, clothes, and shoes.
But what exactly is reCommerce and how does it work? Let’s break it down.
At its simplest form, reCommerce is a unique retail concept where pre-owned goods are resold online. That’s why it’s also known as resale commerce. It’s a retail concept with sustainability at its core; it’s a business model built on the idea of reducing, reusing, and recycling. Think of this as a thrift store, but online instead of in a traditional brick-and-mortar store filled with musty clothes.
Almost everyone has something of value that they don’t want anymore. Instead of just throwing it out to fill up landfills, why not resell the item to earn a little extra income? If the piece is in good condition, you can certainly make a little money. There are plenty of online reCommerce brands - such as RealReal, Depop, and Poshmark - where you can list your pre-loved items for sale; you’ll only pay a small commission (a percentage of the sale value).
The honest answer? Pretty much anything. The only caveat is that it should be in good condition. That’s essential for gaining the best sale price for your item and getting good reviews as a seller (your customers don’t want to pay good money for an item in bad condition). The most popular items on resale sites are:
Designer clothes and shoes
Brand name handbags and accessories
In a word, yes. If you’ve got items lying around your house that you don’t want anymore, why not sell it to someone who actually wants it? You’ll earn a bit of extra money, and your buyer will get a product they want at a discounted price. But that’s not the only reason why you should consider turning to reCommerce to get rid of things you don’t want.
Sustainability is key here. Many of the things we buy often get thrown out when we no longer have any use for them - this is especially true for clothes. But, if the goods are in usable condition, why waste it? ReCommerce allows products to be recycled and reused, which, in turn, reduces the demand for new products. The net result? A lower demand for raw materials and energy use in factories, which means a more eco-friendly business model.
Yes! As an online retailer, you’ll probably often find yourself with leftover seasonal inventory or returned goods in saleable condition. Instead of destroying these, you can build a reCommerce element to your store to move the stock and bring in some extra profit for your business. The easiest way to do this is to have a “Sale” category on your website. It’s important to be transparent about the items though - you should note if the product is out of season or has been returned so that customers know exactly what they’re getting.
Make sure to use great product photography
Add detailed product descriptions to your product pages so customers know what they’re getting
Maintain good customer service and respond quickly to any concerns and questions
Target the right customers
Use social media to promote your resale business and connect with potential customers
Incentivize with goodies and discounts on regular-priced items
Fulfill your orders promptly and correctly (this helps avoid negative reviews)
Print your shipping labels online and offer easy-to-use tracking
Obviously, reCommerce is a trend to watch out for over the next few years. For online store owners especially, this could be an additional revenue stream that helps you move your stock. The trick is to plan carefully and execute carefully so that your customers remain happy.