The Rise of Recommerce : The Next Big Thing in Retail

In today’s world, we are surrounded by things.


In an age of mass consumerism, our homes are filled with all kinds of items. The latest gadget sitting on the table hardly ever used, wardrobes bursting at the seams with clothing and shoes, kitchens filled with the latest technology to make cooking easier or more straightforward or sideboards with drawers filled with old, discarded phones. The list goes on.

In an age where there is a constant demand for new products, this is creating a huge amount of waste.

Many products will end up discarded, either in landfill or polluting the environment in some way. The plastic pollution suffocating sea life is just one example. The plight of sea life and nature, in general, has resulted in an increased awareness of what we are doing to the world in which we live which is driven by the constant demand for products.

Businesses and consumers are becoming more conscious of the throwaway culture and taking steps to turn the tide. Concepts such as recommerce play an important role. When it’s approached in the right way, recommerce essentially produces little to no waste.

Every item that you can think of will be reused or repurposed. From food to plastics and even electronics.

The Transformation of Consumerism

Recommerce doesn’t have to be costly or difficult. It can be something as simple as selling on unwanted items to someone else who could make use of them. Platforms can be set up so that when items are no longer wanted, they can be sold or exchanged for something that is wanted. Essentially this creates a second-hand goods marketplace with everyone benefitting from the process. It saves the environment too.

There is no hiding away from the fact that consumerism is essentially fuelling the demand for products, so a new way of thinking is needed to address the high volume of products that is driving today’s retail environments. Many people are persuaded to replace products for the new and improved, even if this means discarding items that are working perfectly well.

Business models that exist for resale, rental and upcycling are designed to maximise the lifespan of a product, helping to reduce waste and eliminate the number of items that end up in landfill. As well as being kind on the environment, this also generates revenue for businesses too.

Recommerce is certainly on the increase as more and more consumers become aware of it and businesses recognise their responsibility in terms of sustainability and the environment.

Keeping it Simple

If recommerce is to succeed it must be appealing to the customer. Customers must be able to understand what’s in it for them or be given some kind of incentive to participate.

The second-hand market is an attractive one and recommerce sellers can make it even more so. When retailers make it easier for consumers to sell unwanted items through incentivising recommerce it becomes so much more attractive. The sales process must be simple and straightforward. With any item, be it books, phones or clothing, a barcode on the item will be scanned or the seller will be asked to describe what it is they want to sell, before being issued with an immediate offer to purchase. Once terms are accepted payment is immediate. The item is then collected or sent depending on customer preferences without any cost to the consumer.

Businesses must approach the world of recommerce in an intelligent way, understanding what items consumers are most likely to buy second hand and what they are willing to pay for them. Retailers must gather feedback from consumers and test various pricing strategies and techniques. In time, with increased awareness and a better understanding of the benefits of recommerce, it is something that will only grow in popularity.

Recommerce and Millennials

That said, recommerce is much bigger than what you might think. Profits are growing rapidly with some well-known brands in the industry achieving great success. When recommerce reaches a point where it is generating multi-million figures this is when it starts to make a difference. It takes a lot of second-hand commerce to create a profit at scale. For every item that’s resold it’s less waste that’s heading to landfill or into the environment in other ways. It’s also a great way to extend the service life of perfectly usable items.

Recommerce popularity is largely being fuelled by millennials and Generation Z who are becoming more knowledgeable and mindful on the impact of mass consumerism and the throwaway culture. Many younger shoppers are becoming advocates of reusing and recycling and they place greater value on companies who show a commitment to sustainability.

Many recommerce models also support traditional retail as it is appealing to younger shoppers who are mostly accessing digital platforms. This allows businesses selling products to reach customers on a new level while allowing shoppers more flexibility, freedom and choice when it comes to new and used products.

Can Recommerce Work for an Online Store?

Recommerce is not something just restricted to physical stores. It can work very well for online businesses too. While traditional shops are still there and continue to remain open, many recognise the importance of having an online presence too. This means blending together the best of online and offline shopping while providing a consistent and high-quality experience for customers.

Companies who don’t offer online options to their customers now have the ability to set up shops through social media platforms. Being able to contact a brand without going to the store can save customers time and improve their experience of shopping with brands. Online also presents a huge opportunity for recommerce.

Recommerce can work for online stores in many ways, from reselling unsold stock through to buying back items once they are no longer wanted/needed. It can also involve recycling, reselling or reusing them in some way. In addition, providing customers with a free way to return products once they are no longer needed and incentivising the process will increase buy-in from customers.

Recommerce is something that is only going to grow and evolve in the coming years. The goal is to have a perpetual cycle of buying, selling and reusing to eliminate waste in its entirety, which in turn will be kinder on the environment while increasing the lifespan of everyday products.


PS, Are returns & overstock damaging your business? If you are ready to join the reCommerce revolution with a sustainable selling solution then contact ClearCycle today.

Dan Hague ClearCycle

Dan Hague

18 January 2021

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