Second-Hand Online Stores: A Rising Business

  • Second-hand online stores have become a lucrative and sustainable business model.

  • Physical second-hand stores are more than just a convenience and savings on many types of products. Fashion may be the most common, but in reality, we can find second-hand items in various niches: technology, furniture, bookstores, music, tools, jewelry…
    For different reasons, these types of businesses have been slower to enter eCommerce, but now that they have, we increasingly see really good examples of second-hand online stores.
  • Evolution of the Online Second-Hand Product Market

  • To properly understand where the current business models in used items have taken us, it is important to have a quick vision of where we come from and how user perception has evolved.
    Wherever there is interaction between people, there is always the possibility to buy and sell. On the Internet, especially in the beginning, the main motivation was the price. In addition, there was the advantage of specialization and market niches, something hard to find before the network explosion.
    I do not mean to imply that products are not sold online with this introductory paragraph. In fact, the second-hand market has always existed.
    Originally, it was about sales between individuals or what we know as C2C (customer to customer). Interaction in forums and some marketplaces like eBay or Milanuncios served as the first showcase for second-hand products.
    Then, specific applications and portals for this type of sale began to emerge, like the famous cases of Vinted or Wallapop. These apps are increasingly resembling a second-hand eCommerce, although they continue to be based on connecting buyers and sellers through a third party, acting as a facilitator.
    Today, the landscape has changed drastically. There are a large number of alternatives that meet the characteristics of a “standard” online store.
    Some of these platforms work very well, as we will see later.
  • Advantages and Disadvantages of Setting Up a Second-Hand Online Store

  • Perhaps you are considering opening a second-hand eCommerce, to help you make the decision we will give you several pros and cons.
    Advantages of online stores of used products:
    • Sustainability: For those users committed to the responsible use of resources, acquiring clothes, technology, or other reclaimed goods is an ethical choice of consumption. In fact, to give an example, there is a significant current of people who oppose fast fashion.
    •  Exclusivity: Sure, although it may seem the opposite, buying second-hand products, which are no longer found in regular stores, incorporates a certain touch of elitism, something to which the principle of scarcity applies.
    •  Nostalgia and collecting: we have said that it is a rational purchase, but it can also become something more impulsive and emotional. People have links with objects, especially with those we associate with the past.
    Disadvantages of second-hand products:
    • Stock: It can be difficult to find enough assortment, sizes, models, references... this also forces us to maintain a more active and agile store.
    •  Quality control: buying second-hand products to resell implies reviewing and appraising the merchandise in great detail.
    •  Transparency: In second-hand sales, it is essential to provide a detailed description of the condition of the item. In the case of online sales, including quality and detailed photographs is key.
  • Some Examples of Second-Hand Online Stores

  • The best way to illustrate a post like this is to talk about specific examples.
    Looking at some second-hand eCommerce, you can get inspired and take away some ideas to apply to your current or future business.
    You will find quite a few fashion stores, but we wanted to include some different business models and niches, to give variety.
  • #1 - Second-Hand Luxury Stores

  • There is a good handful of eCommerce that sell used luxury fashion. If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense because:
    • It is assumed that they are quality products, so durability is superior.
    •  They are aspirational products where the new price can be an insurmountable barrier for much of the potential audience.
    •  Seasonality plays an important role in this industry. Users discard products in perfect condition, to make room in their closets for new seasons. At the same time, older items gain value as classics.
    Here we can find a large group of competitors, among which we could mention, which has a large number of sellers who are charged 15% of the sale price, in exchange for using their online store to sell fashion and accessories.
  • Another similar example is Vestiaire, also dedicated to the sale of second-hand designer fashion and accessories. They operate in a way similar to The Real Real and offer a service for appraisal and validation of products, consignment, photography for products, management, and sale. All this in exchange for a percentage.
  • Expanding the range of goods a bit, we come across Catawiki. Is there fashion on this portal? Yes, of course, but also jewelry, works of art, numismatics... even classic vehicles. The main feature is that it is a bidding system, so your shopping experience is like in a luxurious auction house.
  • #2 - Second-hand technology stores

  • We already mentioned that this is a type of product that is increasingly in demand. From mobile devices to computer equipment, through video game consoles or professional cameras.
    The pace at which technology advances means that many products are discarded even though they still have a useful life.
    In this section, we can mention, for example, Back Market or Rebuy. Both businesses share the vision of reusing and recovering devices that can be given a new use, which is important within another of the most polluting industries.
  • #3 - eCommerce of physical second-hand stores

  • These stores have also joined the digital revolution, using the online channel to amplify the reach of retail, reaching a much more massive audience than their establishment can guarantee.
    These types of stores are characterized by having a very broad offer, where almost anything is accepted as long as it has a minimum value.
    Some examples? You can take a look at the online stores of Cash Converters or Cex.
  • These franchises have hundreds of stores distributed throughout the main cities. Additionally, their online store operates in parallel. In the case of Cex, it is also used to direct traffic to physical stores, offering the option to check the available stock in the nearest establishment from the product pages.
  • Did you know there were so many online second-hand stores? We could still mention quite a few more! If you are interested, let us know in the comments or on our social networks.

Miguel Nicolás

Miguel Nicolás O'Shea is a life-long copywriter (more than 15 years working in agencies) and a specialist in Search Marketing (SEO and PPC). From now on, he will contribute with his online marketing experience to Oleoshop, publishing regularly.

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