Friday, 24 August 2012

Second Hand Rose

One of my favourite trends at the moment, identified by Trendwatching and others is Recommerce. You'd never dream of chucking out your 5-year-old car, would you? Or pulling down your 10-year-old house? With the car, your opportunities to sell on are either do-it-yourself, which costs time and effort but you'll probably get a better price, or to put it in the hands of the dealer which is a heck of a lot more convenient but often disappointing in terms of financial reward.

Of course, Recommerce is a new-ish name for something that's been going on since time immemorial. Second-hand books, clothes, furniture, the flea market, the antique shop, the pawnbroker, classified ads and all the rest. And the last ten years or so have seen all this individual activity leap onto the internet with ebay, amazon marketplace and the like.

But outside the car industry, few companies have involved themselves in Recommerce regarding their own brands and products, until recently. Obviously, the costs and resource involved would not have justified the gain.

We live in a different world now. Recommerce satisfies peoples' need to be shopping responsibly and sustainably as well as saving money in cash-strapped times. And I believe that there is another human benefit that is integral to the Recommerce concept. Think of any antiques you own - they all come with a story - of previous owners, when and how they were crafted - and they carry with them a glimpse into a lost world.

If companies can tap into this aspect of Recommerce, they can strengthen their brand through its past.

Just one example of Recommerce is "Common Threads" the official co-operation and marketplace between Patagonia and ebay.

And a positive consequence of Recommerce is that it begins to erase the horrible words "consumer and consumables" from our vocabulary.

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