News

11 January 2023

Recommerce, the new sustainable shopping trend

Recommerce, a new trend in sustainable shopping, is quickly gaining popularity

With two-thirds of consumers willing to pay more for sustainable products, it is no wonder why the most attentive companies are making efforts towards sustainability, supporting environmental causes and modifying production processes. Recommerce is one of the best examples of a new circular economy action, and one that is rapidly gaining traction.

What is reCommerce?

Recommerce, also known as reverse commerce, is a business model based on sales and marketing activities that involve the reuse or recirculation of products. Simply put, it consists of the selling and buying of previously owned products - new or used- online or in physical stores. The phenomenon began with technological products but is spreading to other product categories.

There are different types of recommerce

If we consider the type of product, we have:

  • Pre-Owned recommerce, which is the resale of carefully used items that still have retained some sort of their value; 
  • Refurbished recommerce, which is the process of buying used, broken or damaged products to repair or restore them and then resell them; 
  • Recycling recommerce, which is the process of breaking down products into their parts and recreating new ones from them.

Instead, if we consider the type of exchange, we have:

  • Informal market, in which consumers sell second-hand products to other consumers in person (flea markets) or online (marketplaces such as eBay).
  • Trade-In & Recommerce Platforms, in which specialist service companies buy used goods, refurbish them, and resell them online.

What is Recommerce?

recycle secondo hand clothing

Also known as reverse commerce, is a business model based on sales and marketing activities that involve the reuse or recirculation of products by buying and selling previously owned products.

Why is it becoming so popular?

The popularity of recommerce derives from the fact that it brings significant benefits for everyone involved: consumers, companies, and even the planet.

These benefits range from cost savings to the improvement of the brand image, up to the reduction of the ecological footprint of the industries.
Let's see them in detail.

1) Benefits of recommerce for consumers:

  • Lower prices for products: it allows consumers to buy items that they might not be able to afford otherwise, for example, luxury fashion.
  • Offer variety: recommerce offers a wide array of options for both buyers and sellers, including vintage items, limited edition or hard-to-find items, certified pre-owned products, and even personalised items.
  • Sustainable and responsible consumption: it incentivises people to reuse instead of buying new products, which reduces their environmental impact.

2) Benefits for companies:

  • Increase in revenues and profits: recommerce brings additional revenues and profit margins to companies since they can sell products they were not able to before, such as unsold old collections.
  • More control over counterfeiting: the second-hand market is fertile ground for counterfeit items, but when companies deal directly with the sale of their used products they are able to cut out the fakes, thus safeguarding both their consumers and business.
  • Cost savings: recommerce allows companies to recoup some of their losses from returned or damaged products.
  • Improved customer service: it allows companies to offer an extra layer of customer service, offering reconditioned or recycled products as a complement to their regular product line.
  • Improvement of brand image: it helps companies to improve their brand image by acting more socially responsible and sustainably.
  • Improve customer loyalty: it helps strengthen customer relationships by providing a platform for them to resell and recirculate their products. But it also reinforces brand loyalty as customers are more likely to shop with the same company if they know they can get high-quality products from them at more accessible prices.

3) Benefits for the environment:

  • Reducing waste: reCommerce reduces the amount of waste produced in production and consumption activities. 
  • Resource efficiency: it encourages companies to use resources more efficiently by reusing materials from previously owned products. 
  • Reduced emissions: it reduces the amount of carbon dioxide emitted in the production and consumption processes.
Nobis Next

Issues of reCommerce

Despite all these advantages, reCommerce is not without its drawbacks.

The main issue is quality control and assurance since it can be difficult to guarantee the authenticity and condition of reconditioned or recycled products. 

Additionally, reCommerce may not be always as profitable for companies as selling new products, since building a property reselling platform requires resources and investment to be successful.

From the point of view of customers, the main issue is the loss of product warranties once the products are resold. Another issue is that used products may not meet the same quality, performance, and safety standards as new products, and finally if the product can't demonstrate its authenticity then there is a risk that the product may not be genuine. 

How to implement reCommerce in your company's strategy

The topic of setting up a reCommerce project is complex and would require a separate article. However, we want to share with you some general tips that can help your company to approach the world of reselling.

  1. Make sure to set clear reCommerce policy guidelines: Clearly define which products are eligible for recommerce, what types of reconditioning processes are allowed, and how recirculated products should be inspected.
  2. Invest in a reCommerce platform: It requires an initial investment to develop a platform and set up the necessary infrastructure; however, it can pay off in the long run if done correctly. 
    A great example of reselling platform is NEXT by Nobis, which allows consumers to resell their Nobis garments through an authentication process. NEXT by Nobis offers a user-friendly experience for both sellers and buyers. For example, sellers can easily create an account, upload photos of their garments, and add details. The authentication process allows the seller to ship the goods directly to the buyer, without intermediate steps. In addition to the undoubted advantages for the users, the platform allows Nobis to reach a different consumer segment than usual, consisting of those who are looking for discontinued products or garments at very low prices.   
  3. Set up a method for the consumer to verify your products’ authenticity: In the second-hand market consumers' main fear is to spend their money on fake or unsustainable products. Through an authentication system, like that of Certilogo, you can guarantee them that your products are original and share information on the entire life cycle, from raw materials to reselling.
  4. Educate customers through marketing: Make sure your customers understand recommerce and its benefits, so they are more likely to invest in recirculated products.
  5. Set up a take-back program: with the take-back program, you can incentivize your consumers to return their products to you once they no longer want them. This makes it easier for you to collect products and resell them. It also gives you valuable data on customer preferences and product trends.
  6. Partner up: Create a network of companies that are engaged in reCommerce to provide customers with more options when reselling or buying reconditioned products. 
  7. Track and monitor results: Tracking sales and customer feedback is key to improving reCommerce practices and maximizing the benefits for your business.