Home Smart Living Recommerce or reverse commerce: What does it mean in the Indian context?

Recommerce or reverse commerce: What does it mean in the Indian context?


As per Techopedia, Re-commerce is defined as:

“Recommerce is a general term for a practice in which a seller of goods allows for a certain kind of exchange between customers. In recommerce situations, those who have bought products can “sell back” obsolete or otherwise undesirable products, either for a cash payout or in exchange for a different product. These scenarios generally involve pre-approved contracts designating a value for something that the customer would like to sell back to the original vendor. “

In simpler terms, Recommerce is similar to the transaction you do with the kabadiwala but you do it online. The word is a twist on the term ‘e-commerce’ which means shopping online. So when you sell your old stuff online, it becomes re – ecommerce.

There are various companies across the world working in the re-commerce industry. A few examples are Recommerce Solutions in France, Gazelle in US, Rebuy in Germany and ReGlobe in India.

Most of the above companies deal with buy back of used electronics gadgets (Laptops, Smartphones, Game consoles, TV etc.) as it is easier to do buy back pricing of branded electronics as compared to other categories.

Now you may ask – How are these companies different from Olx, Quikr or eBay? Well the basic answer is that they are in different businesses.  While olx/quikr are just online classifieds where you post an advertisement to sell your new or old stuff these companies are not actually involved in the transaction. In case of eBay they are a market place where the buyer and seller are verified by eBay but have no control over product.

The major benefits of dealing with a Recommerce company are:

1) Guaranteed repurchase price to the holder of the product.

2) Most of them organize the logistical return of the product. In most cases, logistics costs are supported by the re-commerce company.

3) Saving you from the hassle of answering numerous buyer calls and negotiation

4) Maintaining privacy by not sharing/flashing your mobile number in the public domain

5) Assuring a quick sale and instant cash.

6) The products they sell are reconditioned in a specialized refurbishing facility and are of high quality.

7) Responsibly recycling the waste

There is an immense potential for Recommerce in India. The performance of consumer electronic devices is highly encouraging.  About 27.8 million phones and 11.3 million laptops were sold in India in 2013. Of this approximately 5 million used phones and laptops were expected to have been sold in 2013, translating into Rs. 5000 crore market or US$833 million which is still a small part of the whole electronics gadget market if you include white goods. Most of the second hand commerce is currently done by small retailers, repair shops etc. and hence huge opportunity to be tapped.

The changing consumer lifestyle is driving Indians to change their electronic gadgets very quickly. Today, the average time a person takes to change his smartphone has come down from about 2 years to 6-12 months and hence more and more used gadgets are reaching the Re-commerce market.  There is an unfulfilled need in the market for selling used gadgets quickly, with ease sitting at home. It would be interesting to watch how the market shapes in the coming years and how companies like ReGlobe perform.


(Author of this blog is Nakul Kumar the Co-Founder of www.ReGlobe.in)


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