Earn money, save money, and help keep all this STUFF out of landfills.

Recommerce, short for ‘reverse commerce’ or ‘repeat commerce’ has been around for quite a while online.  It is the business of selling previously owned, new or used, items through online marketplaces.  Recommerce is also known as ‘buyback and resell’.  A recent poll found that 92% of consumers said they would buy, sell, or trade secondhand items at least once each year.

From https://recommercereport.com/

Reselling second-hand merchandise has gone on for centuries, at farmers’ markets, flea markets and tag sales, all unstructured forms of selling.  Once the internet and technology entered the picture, companies like eBay, Mercari, and Craigslist created a structured marketplace for used goods. Now clothes are going from thrift and vintage stores to Real Real and thredUP. It is estimated that the secondhand fashion market will grow 127% by 2026.  Wandering around a flea market picking up knick-knacks on a sunny day in June has been replaced by the surging business model of recommerce.

How does Recommerce work?

Anything can be sold through recommerce. If the item remains useful and is competitively priced, it provides a good alternative to consumers to buying something new.

There are online markets for almost every product you can think of, from pricey art and furniture (1st Dibs) to junk you can’t believe would ever sell (Mercari).

The following categories are the most active and thriving resale markets:

  • Electronics
  • Sporting Goods
  • Music equipment
  • Clothing
  • Jewelry
  • Video games
  • Books
  • Vintage and collectibles

Buyers of these goods will repair, reuse, recycle, upcycle (turning something used into a new product, like turning an old lantern into a lamp) or resell the items.

Recommerce goods come from a variety of sources, not only people’s attics:

  • Estate sales
  • Liquidation sales
  • Trade-in and buyback programs by retail stores
  • Overstocked items
  • Returned items
  • Dented box items

Many recommerce items come from large retailers like Amazon, Target and Walmart. In 2023 returns in the U.S. cost retailers $750 billion dollars. For the large retailers, selling the returned merchandise on secondhand market is less expensive than restocking.

Why do people engage in recommerce?  According to a recent poll, it is to save or earn money, and for environmental concerns.  Younger customers (aged 18-34) are more likely to shop for used goods than older customers.  For the environmentalists, recommerce is keeping all the resold goods out of landfills.

“The equivalent of one garbage truck full of clothes is dumped or burned in a landfill every second”. The Macarthur Foundation.

The latest in recommerce selling are ‘bin’ stores.  They are huge warehouse-like spaces that sell items from large retailers like Amazon, Target, and Walmart at a discount.  These are the overstocked, returned, or dented box items that the retailers have too many of or cannot put back on their store shelves and are willing to discount.  Nothing broken or damaged is sold and all sales are legitimate.

In West Nyack, the first floor of the old J.C. Penney store in the Palisades Center is now a 52,000 square foot ‘bin’ store dedicated to recommerce, selling everything from scooters to baby clothes from large retailers.  The Today Show recently had a piece on this new trend and an interview with the 27-year-old who has opened one in West Nyack, NY, with anything and everything for sale inside.  The merchandise is diverse – clothes, electronics, sporting equipment, everything from the above list.  The owners of these giant recommerce spaces want to move the inventory so negotiating prices, especially for big ticket items, is allowed.  Many of the shoppers will resell what they buy, keeping the circular economy going and the goods out of landfills.

Many more bin stores are predicted to open in the next few years.

Recommerce marketplaces:

Branded Retail Shops

WornWear.com – Patagonia accepts clothing and gear resale items in good condition.  Patagonia was an early proponent of resale.https://wornwear.patagonia.com/

Ikea Buy Back & Resell – This is part of the company’s effort to become circular by 2030.  Members sell back gently used Ikea furniture in exchange for store credit.  https://www.ikea.com/us/en/customer-service/services/buyback-pubfeb6cc00

REI’s Re/Supply – a used gear program for members to trade in used items online, in-store or at REI’s Re/Supply stores. https://www.rei.com/used

Rejuiced – Juicy Couture peer-to-peer resale marketplace. https://juicycouture.com/collections/rejuiced

Athleta Preloved – in partnership with ThredUp.  Shoppers can find gently used and discounted Athleta products. https://athleta.thredup.com/

Conscious Closet from Bergdorf Goodman – resale focusing on extending the life of luxury goods.  https://www.bergdorfgoodman.com/c/bg-lifestyle-shops-conscious-closet-cat749126

Hanna-Me-Downs – Hanna Anderson resale of kids’ apparel.  https://preloved.hannaandersson.com/

Canada Goose Generations – A recommerce platform for Canada Goose, the luxury outdoor apparel maker. https://generations.canadagoose.com/

Lululemon’s Like New – allows customers to trade in used Lululemon clothing in exchange for an e-gift card to be used at Lululemon stores. https://likenew.lululemon.com/

Sarah Flint luxury shoes offers SEQUEL – Keep the story going, selling lightly used and returned Sarah Flint shoes.  Owners can offer their Sarah Flints for resale.

 

Resale Platforms

Ebay – launched in 1995 and is now global. https://www.ebay.com/

Mercari – Founded in 2013, a Japanese resale marketplace. https://www.mercari.com/

The RealReal – launched in 2011 and is an online marketplace for authenticated luxury resale and consignment.  It also has 12 retail locations in the U.S. https://www.therealreal.com/

Poshmark – a social peer-to-peer marketplace for new and secondhand goods for women, men, kids, pets, homes, and more. https://poshmark.com/

Fashionphile – pre-owned luxury handbags and accessories partnered with Neiman Marcus. https://www.fashionphile.com/

Depop– A subsidiary of Etsy, a social resale marketplace for clothes.  Allows price negotiation. https://www.depop.com/

 

To find a bin store near you, Google ‘bin stores near me’ and you’ll see your options.  In the area outside New York City there is Empty the Bins in Yonkers, Mystery Bins in West Nyack, and Big Deal Bin Store in Queens Village, NY.