[Tribune] 5 tips to develop your second-hand business

The Covid crisis has been a true indicator and accelerator of trends that has encouraged the population to consume better. But what does it mean? Consuming better means buying less, but better, promoting the sustainability of products and giving them a second life. In 2021, 44% of French people bought at least one refurbished item, including 55% of people aged 18-34. To respond to this enthusiasm, retailers have adapted to respond to the pure players that anticipated this sector. Today, Backmarket’s valuation (5.1 billion euros) is three times higher than that of the Fnac Darty group.

In order not to be left behind, traditional retailers must adapt by offering refurbished products. It is important to control all stages of the value chain to limit costs and optimize the customer experience.

1. Develop your sourcing

Second-hand products have become scarcity products. That is why it is important to multiply the sources of supply. The first medium is internal! Retailers generate a large volume of products that cannot be resold as new through e-commerce right of withdrawal and after-sales service. the second way isuse your points of sale to install terminals to redeem used products through vouchers and give them a second life. the last way isidentify, according to their sectors of activity, players whose activity generates a large number of second-hand products. In the world of telephony, second-hand specialists are establishing agreements with French and foreign, mainly American, operators who cannot sell their used products and can still have a second life.

2. Set up a quality process

Once the sourcing problem is resolved, it is important to set up a PLM to manage the product lifecycle and create quality processes to identify critical control points. The products will therefore be tested, restored, emptied of their contents and qualified to meet a second-hand condition.

The goal is to have the best experience possible for the customer without being disappointed with the product received.

A quality chart should be established to take into account the various essential quality points of the refurbished product, for example, for a PC, battery status, display, keyboard, trackpad, chassis and accessories.

3. Communicate on your website

Quality processes must be detailed and transparent so that customers can understand how products are selected and reconditioned. The various states produced (for example: new, perfect, very good, good) must be the subject of a detailed description, we even find on certain websites a concrete simulation of what each state implies (scratches, impacts, battery capacity, etc.) . Customized product details are even more popular with customers as they know exactly which product they will receive. It is even possible to go to a photo in addition to the generic product. Stores are also generators of second-hand products, so the e-commerce site will be a great forum for them to sell their products.

4. Take care of your shipping and post-purchase experience

Used products can generate a large number of returns and impact customer satisfaction. Therefore, it is important to take all precautions when shipping the product. There are several methods for this:

– Offer a shield and screen protector for free on technical products to make product shocks invisible

– Offer new accessories such as charger and headphones

– Propose an additional guarantee to support the customer in case he has a setback with his purchase

All of these elements will improve the shopping experience and minimize product returns, which are higher than the industry standard for second-hand products.

5. Reinvent your distribution mode

The new modes of consumption have changed the posture in relation to the possession of an object. The PAAS system for “Product as a Service” is gaining ground and the second-hand product is the cornerstone. As with cars and leasing, technical products, DIY products or even furniture can be leased on a short, medium and long term basis. Players are developing to help retailers respond to these issues.

A new consumption model is offered to consumers with the second-hand market. In 2021, 14% of smartphones sold in France were refurbished. The adaptation of retailers must be done quickly to position themselves in this market and not let new players take over it. These adaptations will not be made without investments and a redesign of the organization to include a used products department whose processes will be different from the traditional activity.

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