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👣Recommerce opps you’re missing but Lulu & Walmart aren’t

recommerce business model

This is Inbox Hacking, a free newsletter with slick marketing insights, tools, & tactics sent every Wednesday. Join marketers from Ad Age, ADP, & the NBA, and sign up for your Free subscription here. 

It’s just Wednesday, Inbox Hackers, but rest easy. The weekend cometh like a thief in the night – especially if you go Ferris Bueller on Friday morning. 

Today’s feature story shows how to get foot traffic into a store via reselling pre-owned goods – no matter what you sell – or who your target market is. Recommerce has big potential for online stores, too – despite known headaches. Then we’ll get to our Knowledge Base, Facts and Stats, and Today’s Hack gives you the most ridiculous / effective testimonial tactic ever. Let’s get after it…

Retail Foot Traffic Trends

I’ve got resources coming up with deeper-dive stats on retail foot traffic trends. 

Main thing to know is what should be obvious. Foot traffic in many stores – especially any place resembling a mall – has dropped like a rock. If you owned a mall, you’d have a harder time giving it away for free than you would a timeshare.

Some malls are even being turned into pickleball courts! Sad news in one way, but great news in another since it shows that people want to go “out.” And will go if the venue has appeal. 

That’s what recommerce offers – unique appeal.

What’s a Recommerce Business Model’s Main Appeal?

To me, the mystery is the top hidden appeal for a recommerce business model. There’s proof in this resource – WD Partners white paper. Their survey found price was the number one draw for “pre-loved” item shopping. But the next two biggest appeals were:

  • Interesting merchandise 
  • Fun

Malls ran out of mystery long ago. They are being beaten by messy, disorganized thrift shops because there’s mystery there and fun to be had. Shoppers can dig around to discover cool retro apparel that’s one-of-a-kind versus one-of-many neatly hung on a rack. 

(Eco-friendly is another appealing aspect of selling pre-owned goods – in case that’s not obvious)

Biggest Brands Using Recommerce Business Model

Here are just a few companies on board with a recommerce business model in one form or another.

  • Walmart
  • REI
  • Lululemon
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods
  • IKEA
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Amazon
  • Home Depot

Urban Outfitters has been in the recommerce game since 1983! Pretty decent recommerce model, I’d say… 

“Urban Renewal surpasses 1 million pairs of denim salvaged, recirculating at least 50,000 pairs each year for the last 10 years.” ~UO website

*Another resource (video) with proof and possibilities of implementing a recommerce business model.

Naysayers of Online Recommerce Business Models

Before I wrap the feature story up with 7 main points on recommerce, here’s the rub.

An online recommerce business model isn’t easy. Why? Hassles and headaches. Basically, the items have to be “touched” too many times (allegedly). Steps include:

  • Inspecting items, then…
  • Authenticating
  • Inventorying
  • Photographing
  • Editing photos
  • Pricing
  • Describing
  • Adding to online store

Too much work to be profitable! Unless you’re a one-person business not trying to be perfect. And that’s the lesson for big brands… 

Since the allure of recommerce in physical stores is the mystery of finding interesting items and the fun of the hunt – why try to be perfect online? Maybe a little disorganization is what adds to the thrifting experience or vintage treasure hunts – even online.

I get it. Today, it’s all about data tracking and scaling. Great, but those modern ideals may be standing in the way of creative methods to make recommerce part of your business. 

7 Key Points on Recommerce Business Models

  1. The resale market has been growing steadily and surged even before the pandemic
  2. The U.S. resale market is projected to be more than $353 billion by 2030, up +1000% from 2020 
  3. Resale companies could make up 25% of the apparel industry in the next decade
  4. Online resellers are opening physical stores, as it’s less labor-intensive to intake and sell offline
  5. Roughly 12.8 million tons of clothing end up in landfills in the U.S. annually
  6. Resale supports a circular ecological system, requiring fewer virgin materials, energy, and water
  7. One expert predicts 1 in 4 products sold will be preowned

Lots of meat on the bone with recommerce / selling pre-loved stuff. I could even argue Uber sells a pre-owned service – via other people’s cars. The service puts cars already in use to further use.

Anyways – one more recommerce resource for ya.

Trove – platform powering resale (65 to 75% of all branded resale on Earth goes through Trove technology, according to the CEO)


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*Need US traffic & roughly 15k monthly visitors

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Knowledge Base

Knowledge is power, so is walking to Wally World 

❓Are you using these Amazon marketing strategies?

🛒9 examples of demand generation (best practices included)

🤖17 AI news newsletters

⌨️Know ALL the types of SEO? 

💪Content writing is now copywriting 2.0?

Self Help

Is it ever ok to show off? Yes. 

  1. If it makes you feel good and motivates you to do more
  2. If it inspires someone else

(The last one works best when you’ve got gray in your beard – aka look old & washed up like me😅).

*Inbox Hackers Shout-out:

📢Debbie at Ricoh (business solutions)

📣Darrius at Double Up Marketing 

Facts and Stats

  • Gen Z & Gen Y most likely to buy secondhand goods— 70% and 68% of Gen Z and Gen Y users, respectively, say they purchased a pre-owned item in the past year (ECDB)
  • 90.88% of all web pages get zero organic traffic via Google (Marketing Insider Group)
  • To reach 100,000 viewers on YouTube, it’ll cost you around $2,000 (Influencer Marketing Hub)

Bonus: Are you using “generational slang” for hot SEO keywords? See the major difference→ “Valentines nails inspo” 9,900 searches in February vs ZERO for “Valentines nails inspiration” (Keywords Everywhere)

Brought to you by Inbox Mailers

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Get Hacking

You know testimonials and reviews are proven to generate sales – they help fence-sitters commit to trusting your brand enough to make a purchase.

Here’s a new take on testimonials. Use one from someone who did not buy from you – and regretted it. Video works best for this “I wish I would’ve chosen ACME” type testimonial. Example here.

(ALT Hack: Summarize or curate content with AI. The WSJ recently reported on a website using this tactic. The site went from “zero traffic to 1.2 million monthly Google referrals.” *Gotta ensure info is accurate, though.

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