How to Resell Your Online Store’s Returned Products

September 1, 2022
| by Rebecca Fox

Reselling products your customers return to your online store is an effective way to recover costs on product returns and make your business more sustainable.

Many of the products that you get returned are probably in great condition and can be resold online as “used”. Reselling returned products online is called reCommerce. 

What is reCommerce?

Reselling used products online is known as reCommerce.

More and more eCommerce retailers are reselling used products online. In fact, 50% of second-hand sales are expected to come from online resale by 2024. 

There are many leading eCommerce companies that have online reCommerce outlets. For example, Best Buy has an online outlet where it sells open-box appliances, and HP has an online outlet with refurbished computers and more.

What are the Benefits of Reselling Returned Products?

The benefits of reselling your returned products include making money on otherwise wasted inventory and increased sustainability since products are reused rather than discarded. 

Affordability

Handling returns is costly – from return shipping to returned inventory handling. Reselling those returned products saves you money and makes your eCommerce store more profitable.

With return rates at an all-time high, and many eCommerce stores offering free returns, you lose money twice on shipping for every returned item, as well as on handling costs, warehousing costs, and more.

By reselling your returned products, you can help to offset the costs associated with returns and keep your online business running smoothly.

Customers often return products because they change their minds or receive an item that doesn’t match their expectations. Rather than throwing away the products and losing money, you can resell them if they’re in good condition.

For example, if a customer orders a pair of jeans that don’t fit right, and returns them for another size, those jeans are still in great condition. The jeans could easily be resold, regaining some of the money you lost on the processing and shipping.

So is it worth reselling your returned products? Think about it this way – if you don’t resell those returned products, where will they go? 

If the answer is to the garbage dump, or to sit on your warehouse shelves for an indefinite period of time, it’s definitely worth putting them up for sale again instead of losing money on wasted products. 

Sustainability

There’s a high environmental cost to eCommerce returns. Returned products that aren’t resold are often destroyed or sent to landfills. By reselling returned products you contribute to sustainability and reduce the environmental impact of returns.

Product returns in the US generate an estimated 27 million metric tons of carbon emissions and 9.6 billion pounds of landfill waste each year.

Reselling returned products creates a circular economy that reduces a lot of the environmental impact of returns.

Demand for the production of new products can be reduced by recycling and reusing used products. Producing fewer new products reduces raw material consumption, factory energy consumption, and landfill waste accumulation.

Fashion is a particularly important industry in this regard. It’s no secret that fast fashion causes significant damage to the environment.

Although reCommerce doesn’t completely eliminate fast fashion, it can cushion it by reselling pre-owned clothing and accessories that are in good condition, preventing them from going to landfills and making your eCommerce store more sustainable. 

How to Resell Returned Products

70% of customers say it’s easier to shop second-hand than ever before, thanks to the growth of technology and online marketplaces.

There are many ways you can resell your returned products – in bulk, on third-party reCommerce sites, to liquidation companies, and more. 

Two of the simplest strategies for reselling your returned products are directly on your site or through a third-party reCommerce service.

Add a reCommerce Section to Your Site

An easy way to resell returned products is to add a reCommerce section to your online store. 

Resell returned items at a discount through a ‘sale’ or ‘used’ category on your website. This provides easy access for customers seeking used and discounted products.

For example, Best Buy has a section of its online store dedicated to used, clearance, and refurbished products.

When listing returned products on your website, be honest about the condition of the products, and include high-quality images so that customers know exactly what they’re buying.

Another thing to consider when reselling products is what your return policy is for returned products. Some online stores don’t offer returns at all for used products, some offer a restricted return policy, and some offer the same return policy as regular products. 

When defining your used products return policy, make sure your eligibility conditions for returns are clear and that your return policy is noticeably displayed on the product page, checkout page, and in confirmation emails to your customers.

Use a Third-Party reCommerce Site

An alternative to reselling returned products yourself is using a third-party reCommerce service such as Chumbani.

If you want to resell your returned products but don’t know where to start, Chumbani can help you streamline the process by listing your returned products on all the best resale platforms and getting you the best price.

Track and manage your reCommerce listings in one place, with full transparency and control.

More information about Chumbani’s reCommerce services and collaboration with ReturnGO can be found here.

The Positive Impact of reCommerce

Take a moment to think about the way your online store handles returned products and consider whether it’s worth reselling returned products. 

Reselling returned products through reCommerce is becoming a more and more popular solution for returned inventory, and the online resale market is estimated to skyrocket in value to $50 billion by 2026. 

Start reselling the products your customers return to recover costs and make your online store more sustainable.

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