The holiday shopping season is over, which means that the holiday scavenger season has begun. As we return our gifts, those items make their way to brokers who sell random stuff by the truckload, eventually ending up on the shelf of a discount store in the next state, in a popular eBay store, or a flea market table on the other side of the world.
As shoppers demand hassle-free returns from online stores, that just means more items that customers have opened or tried on that doesn’t get re-sold to customers. As we’ve explained in the past, a retailer can expect to get back maybe 10% or 20% of the retail value of a returned item back after it enters the “re-commerce” market.
Buzzfeed traced this market from the big vendors that collect truckloads of returns to the retail stores that actually sell the items at a discount. If you need eight pallets of microwaves or a bundle of 20 used iPhones, you turn to a mass re-seller like B-Stock, which in turn re-sells bundles of electronics returns from Target or furniture returns from Wayfair to interested retailers.
If you’re a regular shopper looking for a deal on random stuff, you can visit Real Deal Warehouse in Tennessee, a physical store that is indeed a warehouse crammed full of deals, but sells some things online. The owner of the store says that while he gets some great deals, almost a third of the items that he receives in the store aren’t in good enough shape to sell in his store.
As long as shoppers still insist on being able to return just about anything we buy online and in stores, re-commerce will be an important part of our economy…and a good way to get discounted goods if you happen to live near a store in this growing business.