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An Increase in Returns Combined with High Demand for Used Goods

Jen Wehrmaker
An Increase in Returns Combined with High Demand for Used Goods

Jen Wehrmaker is Vice President of Marketing at B-Stock Solutions and former marketing executive at some big ecommerce names, including PayPal, eBay, and GoDaddy. She discusses how merchants can expoit the growing trend of increasing returns combined with high demand for used goods in Part 3 of EcommerceBytes Online Selling Trends 2019.

As customer returns increase, more retailers and brands are turning to secondary market channels like B2B marketplaces to sell the stock in bulk directly to eBay, Amazon, Poshmark and other B2C marketplace sellers.

What’s more, much of the inventory will be unused/new and open box quality (especially after the holidays). This gives (re)sellers a better opportunity to secure quality, name-brand inventory directly from the retailer/brand.

For savvy online sellers, breaking these lots into single units for consumers can be a boon, accordingly, expect to see more online sellers listing customer-returned and overstock items from today’s most popular retailers and brands.

Tips for selling open-box goods online
When sourcing open-box goods for resale, consider looking at dot com returns:

  • A DOT COM return is typically much better quality than an in-store return : often the original packaging is intact or it may be brand new/unopened.
  • You can assume DOT COM returns are consistently worth more: the higher quality the item, the more you can sell it for.
  • There is less work required to package and prepare DOT COM items for resale.
  • There are more SKUs available: there is typically more inventory available online which directly correlates to the amount of returns.

Be transparent:

  • When it comes to open-box/returned items, many online resellers would say “under promise and over deliver.”
  • Don’t ever mark an open-box item as new; that can lead to lack of buyer trust. On marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, that can mean account suspension.
  • Resellers should be totally transparent regarding the condition of the item as well as provide any details on what the buyer can expect regarding packaging, warranty, etc.

Take clear photos:

  • Posting clear and accurate images of your products has major benefits including higher prices, more sales and additional trust from buyers.
  • It also makes searching for listings easier.

Used items are in high demand:

  • Buyers are open to purchasing used item because it will cost them less.
  • Buyers like getting a deal.
  • Buying something as “used, like new” is like getting a brand-new item in an open box.
  • Ex: when it comes to toys, some parents know their kid will probably destroy the item in no time. Accordingly, the parent would rather pay less for the item – just in case.

Introduction to Online Selling Trends 2019: Back to Basics
1) Diversification and Expansion Beyond Marketplaces
2) New Sales Tax Obligations
3) An Increase in Returns Combined with High Demand for Used Goods
4) Major Changes in USPS Rate Structure, Adoption of Voice Technology
5) Retail Convergence Accompanied by Tax Complexities
6) Increasing Cost and Complexity of Parcel Shipping
7) “Glass Box” in Artificial Intelligence, In-Store Personalization
8) Continued Dominance of Ecommerce by Amazon

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

One thought on “An Increase in Returns Combined with High Demand for Used Goods”

  1. Ina, Inciteful article, but Jen doesn’t address the pitfalls of many brands not allowing their products to be sold online due to brand protection by the manufacturer. What does a buyer do when they purchase a “lot” and an online auction, and then when trying to list an item in a marketplace find, they can’t. Even worse, having the item removed by the Manufacturer, after its listed. So buyer beware before purchasing mixed lot returns. It doesn’t matter if its from a reputable web site, if you can’t sell it online- the time it takes to move to get a return on investment may not be worth it.


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