New digital trends: Recommerce and Sustainability

 In Tips e-commerce

New digital trends: Re-commerce and its impact on sustainability

Ecological, more than a trend, is a cross-cutting concern for thousands of people. This, naturally, is also reflected in eCommerce, giving rise to trends such as Re-Commerce, which has a high impact on sustainable living.

On this occasion we are going to delve into what exactly is Re-Commerce, how reused products are sold, analyze the trend and see some practical cases.

Let’s get down to it.

What is Re-Commerce?

Although we have already pointed it out in the introduction, it is worth to make it clear before going deeper.

It basically consists of the online sale of second-hand products, either in their original state, or customized or altered in any way. Something that has been done since commerce was invented, but to which online stores had not finished opening.

To be more specific, we should say that it is the brands that were not actively doing it, because we all know C2C (client to client) applications like Wallapop and Vinted, portals like Milanuncios or even marketplaces like eBay.

Why do brands see it clearly now?

Simple: because it makes no sense to turn their backs on what the public demands. If brands do not embrace Re-Commerce, they are simply favoring an alternative business model that allows third parties to profit from their products.

But with trends, we should not stay on the surface. What is the reason why used products are so attractive to the customer? We could think that because of the lower price (not always the case), for collecting, commercial nostalgia of items they had before… and all this is true in some cases, but there is another big assumption: the ecological one.

Sustainability is becoming more and more important for people and Re-Commerce has a very interesting ethical component.

For example: years ago the controversial concept of “fast fashion” was introduced, promoted by stores like Shein or Primark. It is clothing with a nice design, but with a not too much quality to maintain an ultra-competitive price. The result is a garment with a very limited lifespan and an industry that does not stop producing, with the environmental impact that this entails.

Something similar happens with technology, which, beyond obsolescence (programmed or not) ends up succumbing to fashion or the new technical demands of users. Therefore, a computer or a cell phone “expire” even though they maintain much of their functionality. Let us not forget that to build one of these devices, a large amount of energy and scarce raw materials are needed, which, in addition, must be extracted by altering ecosystems.

The customer is not oblivious to this, on the contrary, is aware of considering sustainability as a decisive argument in the purchase. For brands, this is, beyond an ethical stance, a matter of conversion, profitability and a way of distinguishing themselves from other competitors.

The challenge for retailers

Selling reclaimed products has its own constraints. On the one hand, we have to adapt our store, at the inventory level, to what we can get. That is to say: demand may be high, but we may not have the supply to meet it, nor be able to produce more stock (for obvious reasons).

The price also has a much more dynamic behavior, which requires an agile website that allows us to perform this management easily or, ideally, automatically.

But the biggest challenge, in our opinion, is in customer service and after-sales service. When talking about products that are not standard and have different conditions of use or maintenance, a plus of transparency is essential.

Livechat not only boosts your sales, it can also be the best way to avoid returns, with all that this means in terms of customer experience and margins. Here we recommend that, to do Re-Commerce with more guarantees, you make the leap to more advanced systems such as the covisor, to accompany the customer in the review of the product.

Practical examples of Re-Commerce

The truth is that it is increasingly easy to find online stores that work with ecommerce recovery. There are numerous brands that have introduced it as an additional line of business and other e-commerce stores that rely 100% on reclaimed product from third parties.

Among the former, we can find Levi’s, a fashion icon for decades. Under the sub-brand and sub-domain, Levi’s Secondhand, the company has created its own space where it manages the purchase and sale of second-hand products.

To give you another example related to the sectors we mentioned in the previous point, I will mention Back Market, which buys and reconditions technology, which it offers for sale on its own platform.

What do you think about this type of business? Would you implement Re-Commerce in your store?

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