Being a reCommerce cloud-based retail point of sale system, Alice POS offers merchants the key features they need to get started selling in person or online with a reCommerce (or Circular Economy) approach. The consignment, rental, buy-back, trade-in of used goods, and repair features allow merchants to take advantage of these new consumer trends to develop their market. 

What opportunities does reCommerce present for retail? ReCommerce is a real economic opportunity for retail merchants, because “merchants in the reCommerce industry are growing five times faster than off-price retailers, and 20 times faster than the broader retail market” (source).

“In 2019, resale grew 25X faster than the broader retail sector. Resale: 49%, Retail: 2%”. ReCommerce presents an environmental opportunity by providing sustainable solutions and a social opportunity since it is a growing movement of thought. The advent of COVID-19 is increasingly changing the online shopping market, “With consumers seeking bargains from home, online secondhand is set to grow 69% between 2019 and 2021”(source). This greener opportunity is one your retail store should not miss out on, and Alice POS can greatly help.

ReCommerce Definition

ReCommerce referred to as resale, reverse trade, or circular selling represents a reinvented retail concept in which used items are repaired, traded-in, consigned, resold, or provided in bulk in order to reduce their ecological footprint, and offer consumers a less expensive solution than new or over-packaged items.

The product is therefore at the center of the resale ecosystem which can be carried out by a business or a consumer, in-store, or online. ReCommerce tries to promote the purchase of second-hand items with various benefits not only for everyone’s wallet but also for the environment.

Resale places a lot of emphasis on the online circular economy, which happens to facilitate bringing consumers and businesses offering these services together. However, nothing prevents physical stores from offering this type of service which is increasingly in demand. Many large corporations are already doing this. Levis has a drop-off for used jeans to be recycled or resold, Legos rents its toy bricks for “more fun for less”, you can buy Tide in bulk to reduce the amount of plastic in landfills, Patagonia repairs their clothing and resells them, and Ikea is currently carrying out commercial repair/resale tests in specialized Ikea stores in Sweden. 

Circular Economy Advantages

ReCommerce presents many benefits for retail stores including sustainability. Used clothing consumption reduces the number of new clothes manufactured, thus saving resources and energy. This encourages customers to consume responsibly at a more affordable price.

ReCommerce allows maximization of an object’s lifespan by reusing it over and over again.

Also, for both business and customers, reCommerce creates a certain turnover and renewal in inventories. In fact, companies can offer a variety of different products which can create a turnover of items. Customers are then able to vary their used goods at a lower price than newer ones.

Useful ReCommerce Features

What point-of-sale (POS) features can a store use to develop its reCommerce strategy? A POS, such as Alice POS, can provide a variety of features to facilitate reCommerce retail, such as:

  • Consignment 
  • Buy Back Items
  •  Product Trade-In
  • Product Serialization
  • Used Product Management
  • Repairs
  • Rentals
  • Bulk 
  • eBay and Amazon Marketplace Integrations
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Consignment 

Consignment sales are constantly increasing. “More than 30% of Americans typically shop thrift and consignment stores each year” (source). Consignment is a sales technique that consists of profit share on selling an item for a customer. The exchange of services is in part providing a customer floor space and an interested market, while the seller receives free inventory. 

For example, a customer brings their product to a store and lets the owner know that they would like to consign it. The store makes it available to their other customers and once the product sells, the customer (owner of the item) will receive a percentage, and the merchant recovers the remaining amount of the product sale.

This selling technique can be used in different businesses from bicycle stores to video game shops, clothing, electronics and more. Take Matthew as an example, this young man brings a branded sweater to consign in a thrift store. It is put up for sale by the store. The next day, Matthew’s sweater is sold, so Matthew returns to the thrift store to collect 60% of the bill and the merchant takes 40%.

If a store would like to provide consignments, it is necessary to have point of sale software like Alice POS that is capable of managing these specific types of sales. Alice POS offers various features that make it easy for stores to manage consignments. Easily view items in consignment and setup profit sharing based on fixed amounts or percentages. . With point-of-sale software designed to manage consignments, it will be easier to keep track of your items, customers and sales.

Alice POS allows you to program the item price as well as the sales share percentage or amount that the customer will collect once the item sells. Once the data is entered into the system, Alice POS will automatically manage the consignment sale. This saves merchants time while allowing them to be more sure of their service quality.

To learn more about what Alice POS can do for your business, contact us by clicking the button below to request a demo!

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Buy Back Items

Unlike consignments, buy-backs do not consist of selling a product for a customer, but in buying it directly from the customer to resell it. Thus, the customer can be offered money, in-store credit, or a percentage reduction on merchandise. As for the merchant, once they have the used item in their possession, it can be put up for sale like any other item in store.

Once the item is sold, the merchant keeps the full percentage of the sale. For example, Katherine bought a bicycle last year, she likes it but decides to give it up because she does not use it enough. She goes to the bike shop to sell it. The merchant will then give her a $ 1,000 credit in store for her next purchase. Now, the store will determine a price and put it up for sale; a week later, the bike sells. The merchant will then keep 100% of the profit.  If you have a bike shop and want to learn more about the benefits a POS can have for your specific industry,  feel free to read this article.

Buy-backs allow you to offer products that are often more affordable to your customers and to contribute to the re-use of products. To facilitate inventory tracking, Alice POS offers a used items management feature with customizable statuses. You will be able to note product specifications in the software and assign them a price according to their condition.

Also, software like Alice POS allows you to separate your new items from your used ones. This feature allows you easy inventory management according to your needs. In just a few clicks you can separate new products from used ones. In addition to promoting second-hand product sales, you may also have the chance to see an increase in your income.

Product Trade-In

Trade-ins are an important part of the circular economy. This retail technique allows a company to take a sold product back from a customer by exchanging it for another one.. In fact, “the 2.4 billion used products exchanged in Canada in 2018 through online platforms, social stores like Renaissance, thrift stores and social networks totaled $ 27.3 billion” (source).

Just like with buy-backs, the store will be able to recover a used product, however, this technique rather allows the used product to be traded for another product in-store.

Obviously, the store must determine the terms in order to ensure that the trade respects some fairness in terms of value. For example, Christopher goes to a video game store to resell his game because he wants to trade it for another. The store not only has to check the game’s general condition, but also how complete it is (box, instructions, accessories), and the price at which it could be bought back. Once done, the store can offer Christopher equal value items from which to pick a new one.

Alice POS software is therefore one of the best solutions for your business to ensure a quick and hassle-free trade-in. In fact, Alice POS offers you the Buy-back and Trade-in feature which allows you to increase your transaction speed, reduce checkout queues and easily record your transactions in your system.

Alice POS also allows you to print the barcode and the product label to ensure putting it back quickly in your store To learn more, you can request a demo by clicking the button below.

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Serialization

Serialization is characterized by extremely precise product tracking. Thanks to serialization, items are given a unique lifetime serial number that enables you to track all the necessary information on each item for simplified and precise stock management. In addition, serialization allows you to track information on each specific product.

For example, Gregory a young fisherman rents two fishing rods in a hunting and fishing shop. The store will be able to annotate Gregory’s information in the item file, thus associating them with the renter and their serialized number information. Two days later the customer brings them back to the store, however, one is bent. The clerk can pull up the specific rod’s profile and see that it was rented this way. The employee will be able to request monetary compensation for the damage depending on the store’s terms and conditions and can add a note about the rod’s damage in the product file.

With product serialization, software like Alice POS guarantees you a close follow-up of your new and used stock, in addition, you can track them more easily by leaving notes about each specific product in the software. That way you can describe the used item in great detail. As for the example above.

Used Product Management

Managing used inventory is made much easier with the serialization features mentioned above since it allows the ability to closely track returns, resales, rentals, repairs, consignments and more. 

For example, in a bookstore, Manon is looking for a specific book, she asks the cashier if it is available in the store. The employee can see in the system that the book is available in two copies, a new version or a used version; she offers Manon the various options available to her.

In addition, software that offers advanced used product management allows you to save time, whether by setting up notes for each product or by classifying your used products separately from your new products. With software like Alice POS, you can create a category for used and new items. You can then search for either in your software, simultaneously or separately.

Also, used items can be differentiated from each other quickly thanks to the Notes section which allows you to write down each item’s particularities if necessary. This feature works hand in hand with the serialization feature offered by the software.

To learn more about used inventory management and serialization, contact one of our experts.

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Repairs

By repairing goods, your business can extend a products’ lifetime and can also increase its return on investment. Thus, overconsumption and overproduction are possibly avoided. In fact, through repair, item parts can be recycled and the item’s maximum operating capacity can be ensured. For example, Patagonia, an outerwear brand, has reportedly fixed “100,000 items each year in 72 repair centers globally.” (source).

Repairs can therefore play an important role in the circular economy, and with the help of a suitable point-of-sale software, you can use repairs to increase revenue.

For example, Frank, an electronic store employee, completed a cell phone repair. Thanks to his POS, he was able to leave notes in the software in order to update the product status and inform his colleagues. Now that the repair is completed, he can easily access the customer’s profile to get in touch with them. . He decides to write Carole, the customer,  an email to let her know that she can drop by the store to pick it up. In the software, you can see that the employee has now updated the item condition to “Repair Complete”.

This feature offered by Alice POS allows businesses to closely monitor product repair progress. Likewise, this tool allows store owners to analyze service speed and employees productivity. It is therefore just as interesting to use it to analyze return on investment and employee workflows. In fact, such software will allow your company to centralize its data, so you no longer need different software to manage your repair offer. With Alice POS, you can manage everything in one place.

Rentals

By using the rental features, your company is able to maximize each item’s use. In fact, allowing an object to be used to its maximum is an important part of reCommerce, it is another way to avoid overconsuming goods and therefore overproduction.

We can sometimes refer to the term “functional economy“, which means selling the product features to customers, and not the good in itself. This way, it is possible to use the asset over and over again without losing its features-related value.

For example, Sebastian, a young entrepreneur who wants to produce a  new promotional video for his company, goes to a photography store to rent the necessary equipment. The store then rents him a camera, some lenses, and a camcorder. Using their point of sale software, the store was able to generate these products’ rental pricing as well as the exact procedure for proper follow-up. A week later, Sebastian brings the equipment back to the photography center.

Software like Alice POS is essential to ensure good price management for each rental product, late fees, and an optimized rental process. This will allow your store to increase revenue and keep a close eye on product condition. 

Bulk

Bulk selling is a distribution method in which the product does not include any packaging. Consumers only need to bring their containers to the store and then fill them with any bulk product. This circular economy technique is increasingly in demand on the market since “81% of global respondents feel strongly that companies should help improve the environment” (source). Selling products in bulk is therefore a great alternative for an environment without single-use packaging and waste.

Bulk sales can not only be used for food products, we can think about detergents in any form whether in powder, capsule, or liquid; just as liquid soaps such as shampoos or shower gels that can also be purchased in bulk.

We can take a flower and soil retailer as an example. Marie goes to a merchant and asks for three roses, and a container of soil. She brings her containers to purchase in bulk. The florist can therefore charge the client depending on their units of choice (based on weight, quantity, etc).

Alice POS allows managers to monitor their inventory in a more efficient way since the software offers advanced inventory management with categorization either in quantities, serialized, or in bulk. This makes it much easier to track bulk sales and allows your store to offer a greener alternative.

If you would like to learn more about the features offered by Alice POS, speak to one of our experts.

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eBay and Amazon Marketplace Integrations

Amazon is actively involved in the circular economy, as the company offers a trade-in, recycling, repair, and aid program to offer greener alternatives on the market. Since 2015, Amazon has  “reduced the weight of outbound packaging by 33% and eliminated over 900,000 tons of packaging material, the equivalent of 1.6 billion shipping boxes” (source).

eBay is also promoting the circular economy in its community. In fact, the company allows its users to resell their used items. As a further matter, the company aims to “Create $2.5 billion in positive economic impacts and avoid 2.5 million metric tons of carbon emissions from 2016 to 2020 through people selling their pre-owned electronics and apparel on eBay ”(source).

As an Alice POS user, you will be able to use Amazon and eBay (through paid API connection) to support your circular economy. These integrations are available to allow you to benefit from omnichannel sales and synchronize in-store and online sales. You can therefore make them work in tandem to consolidate your greener efforts. It will be easier for you to use the features offered by the software such as resale, exchange, and deposit with a platform that shares your values like eBay and Amazon.

To learn more about Alice POS and what the software can offer you to achieve your circular economy goal, contact one of our retail experts.

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Related questions

Do we have to carry out each of the above practices to be able to use the term circular economy?

It is not necessary to use all of these techniques to employ the circular economy within your company. Most stores will start with one or two features to test the market. Subsequently, your business can mature and expand in its circular economy goal.

With Alice POS software, all these features will be available to you with your subscription and you will only have to use them when your business is ready. To find out more, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our retail experts.

Are these features free in Alice POS?

Each feature discussed in this article, except the eBay and Amazon connection, are available in the software’s base pricing. That is, no additional cost is necessary once you have paid for your system subscription, regardless of which plan you have chosen. For web products, get in touch with our team to find out more.

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