Saturday, January 21, 2012

The next next-step - the world of re-selling almost anything

Jack Dikian
January 2012

It’s often difficult to gaze into a murky crystal ball and attempt to predict future trends. Of course it is a little easier to talk about those trends that might be seen as evolutionally and, built on current trends with strong inertia.

Having said that, I’d like to talk about an emerging trend that may become significant in our everyday life in the next few years. I’m talking about re-commerce.

It wasn’t that long ago when, almost overnight the term e-tailing become a part of our vernacular. E-tailing is, as we know, the selling of retail goods on the Internet. Short for "electronic retailing." The term seems an almost inevitable addition to e-mail, and e-business.

E-tailing began to work for some major corporations and smaller entrepreneurs as early as 1997 when Dell Computer reported multimillion dollar orders taken at its Web site.

Re-commerce is about consumers being able to unlock the value in past purchases. Whilst we have always re-sold large, durable goods like cars and houses; the next few years will see us reselling almost anything we no longer want or need.

A growing number of novel brand buy-backs, exchange schemes, online platforms and mobile marketplaces offer smart and convenient options for consumers keen to ‘trade in to trade up’, alleviate financial strains.

Some early business supporting the re-commerce market place include:

  • Decathlon, a French sports apparel and equipment store, launched Trocathlon for a week in October 2011. Stores bought back any used equipment in return for coupons valid for six months.
  • Levi's Singapore offered customers cash and store vouchers when they brought in their old jeans and bought a new pair.
  • Amazon Student released in August 2011, enables students to scan the barcodes of books, DVDs, games or electronics they own, and see the trade-in price. If accepted, a shipping label is generated, and the funds awarded as an Amazon gift card.

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