Resale as a powerful customer acquisition tool

NRF Retail Converge: Leaders from Arc’teryx and REI on the business case for resale

The growing resale market can be a powerful tool to attract new customers. During NRF Retail Converge, leaders shared how to frame the business case for resale while using the circular economy to reach sustainability goals.

At Arc’teryx, “the value proposition was very compelling,” said Karen Campbell, who directs strategic planning and new business development for the outdoor equipment company.

“We’ve always built product that lasts, so it wasn’t hard for the executive team to imagine a future where we stood behind the performance of our product through not just the first owner but the second or third owner,” Campbell said. “It was not just revenue and profit, but customer acquisition and customer loyalty and sustainability.”

Resale in retail

Learn more about the resale commerce concept from one of our latest Retail Gets Real episodes.

A couple of years in, a great benefit has been customer acquisition.

“We had a theory that this would attract a new and younger consumer, and we’ve seen that bear out in the data,” Campbell said. “It takes a lot to get new customers to try your brand, and this is an incredible tool for that.”

REI has been in the used gear business for a long time, according to circular commerce director Ken Voeller. In recent years, the company started to see the perception toward buying used start to shift, especially with young customers.

“We’re seeing customers turn to our re-commerce offering to get into new sports,” Voeller said. “Maybe they’ll turn to used to try cycling or snowshoeing, and we see that as hugely valuable to get more people outside experiencing the outdoors and also continuing to grow our business.”

REI’s online used business grew more than 100 percent in 2020, said Voeller, who expects re-commerce to become a “meaningful chunk” of what it offers over the next few years.

At Arc’teryx, Campbell said she would “love to decouple our trade-in from resale.”

“We anticipate taking back everything that we produce,” Campbell said. “We need to find pathways for all those materials.”

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