Why the hype, you ask? After all, second-hand has been around for ages, right?
Yes and no. Buying second-hand is nothing new. What is new is the growing habit of selling used items. OfferUp Re-commerce Report: “32% of American Gen Zers have resale as their secondary income.”
When buying a new item, younger generations in particular consider and calculate how much they will be able to resell the item for in the future. So, what older generations already do to buy a used car, we may soon do to buy a Patagonia jacket or a designer handbag.
Why is re-commerce on the rise?
What are some other factors helping re-commerce?
To which extent could this grow?
What can be seen in the crystal ball depends on who’s looking into it.
From innovation to expectation
Most of this happens in fashion. Every week, big brands launch pre-loved sections on their websites. It’s safe to say that most of the time it's just for PR rather than being a real business model innovation. But more on that topic next time.
What is holding re-commerce back?
And that brings us to the five lessons we learned from our 2 years with Knihobot.
1. The bottleneck is on the supply side
Patagonia would sell 10 times more jackets if they knew how to obtain them from their customers. The same observation happens with Knihobot. Selling 3x more good books would be a piece of cake. The difficult part is acquiring the books. And that ability is what determines success.
2. Money is not the main motivation (at first)
The first motive is to “get your house in order”. But even so, you shouldn’t leave your customers disappointed by the amount of commission, otherwise they won't come back a second time.
3. Comfort is key
Most people have never sold their books and even the slightest barrier could discourage them to do so. The courier comes to pick up the books in person for free, still many customers often prefer to bring the books themselves to a Knihobot branch. And even having to take a single photo of the books puts many of them off.
4. Logistics can be a tough nut to crack
How to make the buyout as convenient as possible? The courier pickup is free, but the books need to first be packed into a box, which is a hassle, even for the delivery company Zásilkovna. Running our own branches can be expensive, so what about Knihobot boxes? Most of them can’t do take-backs, but even if they could, how could one collect books from such a large number of places? And what about abroad?
Knihobot is not “just” an e-shop, the service needs to make sure that both parties, customers and suppliers, come out satisfied. This requires operational excellence (done), but how about pricing? And how to source books abroad?
Stay tuned (or come help).
Resources for further study: