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Exploring the green business path: Is sustainability the key to eCommerce growth?

We all know that running a retail business has its challenges. The landscape is shifting as younger generations redefine how they make buying decisions. Long-standing giants in the industry risk losing their edge if they don’t adapt. So, what’s the solution?

Enter the world of green and sustainable e-sales, a path that’s gaining momentum, especially with the visible surge in “recommerce”. It would be a missed opportunity not to tap into the growing demand for eco-friendly shopping. In this post, we’re diving deep into the world of recommerce to explore its potential impact on your e-commerce journey.

Recommerce market: Unveiling the green business story

Recommerce isn’t entirely new; consumer-to-consumer reselling has been around since the early days of the internet, shaping platforms like eBay. What’s new is the modern digital approach and the scale of resale. Even brands themselves are getting involved. According to ThredUp’s 2020 Fashion Resale Market Analysis, C2C and B2B recommerce are expected to reach $64 billion by 2024, compared to $28 billion a few years back. The growth is staggering, with Coresight Research predicting it will outpace the overall retail market growth by 20 times. 

But going green isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy; it’s a multifaceted journey toward sustainability, and recommerce is a significant part of this endeavor. The recent surge in second-hand product sales isn’t just about embracing greener choices and giving pre-loved items a new lease on life. It’s also a chance to declutter our lives, reorganize our spaces, and, at the same time, save money or earn some while championing sustainability.

Targeting the next generation

Recommerce resonates particularly well with younger consumers. Studies show that individuals aged 16-24 (81%) and 25-34 (80%) are the most active participants in recommerce. Young people are driving recommerce platforms, reflecting their growing awareness of sustainability and the need for eco-friendly purchases. Traditional retail must adapt to connect with this demographic.

A perfect fit for the fashion industry

The fashion industry has its share of environmental challenges, with global production doubling in 15 years, resulting in an overwhelming number of unused garments. However, recommerce efforts are changing the game.

Each percentage point of growth in the circular economy, where items are reused and recycled, saves 13 million tons of CO2 equivalent. Brands that embrace recommerce help reduce their carbon footprint, making a significant impact on global emissions.

Green fulfillment: Addressing emission concerns

Consumers, especially the younger generation, are leaning towards sharing rather than owning, a trend seen in industries like ride-sharing and home-sharing. The fashion industry is now catching up. Brands that adopt sustainability not only gain positive associations but also unlock opportunities to sell pre-owned items. It’s a win-win, enabling brands to clear out excess stock while expanding their consumer base.

Learn from the titans

Market leaders are already making bold moves in recommerce. Trove partners with Nordstrom, Levi’s, Eileen Fisher, and REI. Patagonia’s Worn Wear initiative lets customers return used Patagonia clothing and offers second-hand shopping. H&M created a dedicated website for COS second-hand goods. Zalando launched its Wardrobe project, facilitating second-hand sales.

Brands are even refurbishing their products. Nike offers the Nike Refurbished option, while startups like Stuffstr collect, recycle, refurbish, and resell clothing.

Challenges and opportunities

Embracing recommerce isn’t without its challenges. Supply chain and reverse logistics can be daunting, but partnering with specialized companies, like Prime Penguin, can help. Flexible order management systems enable control over every aspect of the resale process, and gives you the data needed to make informed decisions towards sustainability.

By partnering with Prime Penguin, you will be able to strategically place stock closer to your customers, cutting the trip around the sun shorter. At the same time, you will reduce shipping costs! Another way is to use an inventory planner to reduce over stock. That way, you do not produce and stock more items than you will sell, and you will not have to ship your over stock between locations. The planet and your customers will thank you for this!

It’s Your Turn

The future is green, and recommerce is your gateway to it. As a retailer, it’s time to embrace the green shift your customers demand and chart your course in the competitive fashion industry. Recommerce is booming right now. Don’t wait; set up your recommerce platform today to attract younger consumers and retain loyal customers while championing sustainability. If you would like to discuss your options and get some tips on how to go more green – contact Prime Penguin today for a free consultation.

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