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How To Launch a Successful Recommerce Program

Updated: Sep 28, 2022

Resale is the fastest-growing category of shopping. According to ThredUp’s 2021 resale report, it’s growing 11x faster than retail and is set to 2x the fast fashion industry by 2030. Any e-commerce brand witnessing this growth should be asking, what does this mean for my business? How can I adapt and capitalize on the changing shopping behaviors of my customers?

As consumers are demanding brands to be more sustainable, recommerce is an attractive solution to become more circular while reaching new customers and strengthening customer loyalty in the process. In the past, managing a successful recommerce program was only feasible for the likes of Levi’s, Patagonia, and other apparel powerhouses with the resources to support it, but new technology is enabling brands of all sizes to participate.

We’ll walk you through the process of how to consider recommerce for your brand and the steps to launching a successful program.

1) Is recommerce right for my brand?

Before diving headfirst into launching a resale experience, take a step back to evaluate whether it’s the right strategy for your brand. There are two main criteria to consider:

  • Category - Is your product category popular in the resale market? If you’re selling apparel or apparel accessories (excluding underwear and socks), the chances are pretty high. Even non-apparel categories in electronics, home goods, or furniture are taking off in the secondhand market. Doing a quick Google search for “[your brand] + [resale / used]” will illuminate where your customers are already selling your items. You can also search for similar products to gauge the demand for your category in the resale market.

  • Timing - Have you been in the market long enough for customers to want to re-sell their items? Recommerce is typically more effective after you’ve been selling for at least a year. Of course, you can plan for recommerce from the beginning, but it may not make sense until you’ve hit certain thresholds.

2) Optimize the experience for your brand.

how to launch a successful resale program

Once you’ve decided to launch a recommerce program, it’s time to set it up in a way that’s optimized for your brand and customers. Your goal is to create an on-brand experience that’s safe, seamless, and successful for your customers, encouraging them to sell through your dedicated resale path rather than third-party sites such as Poshmark. Think about the story you’d like to tell and weave this into how you communicate the experience, from the name of the shop itself through the messaging you share.

Recommerce solutions like Treet make it easy to customize the entire experience. Since it integrates with your main site, your customers can list items from their order history, pulling in original stock imagery and product descriptions to populate a beautiful on-brand listing. Treet also handles 100% of the day-to-day management, including customer support, disbursements, and more.

3) Pre-promote to gather listings and launch.

how to launch a successful resale program

There are two phases for any successful recommerce launch: the pre-launch to help seed your shop with inventory and the launch itself. During the pre-launch, your goal is to educate your community about the program, share how it works, and gather as many listings as you can. You can also supplement customer listings with inventory you have on hand (production units, returns, sample sale inventory, etc.) to ensure a fully shelved experience upon launch.

Far and beyond the best way to educate your community about your recommerce experience and promote the launch is through email and SMS marketing. Here are the four messages emails to incorporate in your promotion plan:

  1. Announcement (1 week prior to launch) - Highlight the upcoming launch of your resale shop and share how beneficial it will be to your community. Include the steps it takes to list items and highlight when the site will be going live. Consider segmenting your list to target customers who’ve purchased from you 3+ months prior.

  2. Push For Listings (3 days prior to launch) - Remind your followers about the upcoming launch and how to list their items in advance. You’ll see a big uptick in listings by sending at least one reminder with instructions on how to list and why.

  3. The Launch (morning of launch) - Cast a wide net by notifying your entire email list of the launch, but consider highlighting different value propositions to various segments of your list. For followers who’ve never purchased from you, make sure to include discount language front and center (ex - Find pre-owned [brand name] items for 60% off”). Your resale launch is a great opportunity to create customers out of your casual followers. For current customers, focus on how you’re giving them a way to keep their items in circulation and get credit or cash back.

  4. Post-Launch Reminder (3 days after launch) - Wrap up your launch by thanking your community for participating and emphasizing that your resale shop will be there for them year-round.

4) Integrate throughout your customer journey

how to launch a successful resale program

One of the most important aspects of finding success with recommerce is how you integrate it throughout your customer journey. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to ensure engagement without needing to manually promote the site every week. Here are some of our top recommendations:

  • Automated messages - Introduce your recommerce offering across your automated messages. According to Omnisend, automated messages generate 32% of all email orders with only 2.4% of the sends.

    • Welcome series: Welcome messages have a 53% conversion rate. Letting new subscribers know about your recommerce offerings might increase that even further.

    • Post-purchase: A great way to cross-sell accessories or complementary items to recent purchasers.

    • Browse abandonment: For those who left your site without carting an item, it is a great way to recapture their interest—possibly overcoming pricing obstacles that caused them to leave.

  • Newsletter Placement - Create a banner to add to the footer of your newsletters to remind your community of the resale experience. This helps create top-of-mind awareness without needing dedicated promotions every week.

  • Homepage Links - Make sure your resale shop is highlighted in all of the places you’d expect: within the shop dropdowns, site navigation, and perhaps a dedicated homepage strip (at least for the first couple of months while your customers are being introduced to the program).

  • Instagram Stories - Create an Instagram story that promotes your resale experience and gives it permanent visibility in your Highlights section.

The number of brands jumping into recommerce has accelerated tenfold since 2020 and will only continue to grow. Now is the time to ask what that means for your brand and whether it makes sense to start the conversation around resale.

If you’d like to try out Omnisend to power the messaging behind your recommerce experience, get 30% off 3 months using code, TREET30X3.


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