How to Sell Refurbished Products

Rasel T.

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Refurbished products are products that were returned to the seller or manufacturer for some reason. They were then fixed and have regained their functionality as they should have been originally. There is a subtle difference between refurbished products and used ones. Used products are those that aren't returned to an appropriate manufacturer or refurbishing service provider and therefore don't have a guarantee of performance and functionality. Used goods may still have several defects.



Why Companies Need to Allow for Defective Returns


Many companies see returns of defective products as a major inconvenience but smart companies take it as a chance to serve the customer better. Defective products require additional labor and materials costs in checking, fixing and reselling these products but there are a few positive benefits in effectively managing these returns as well:


1. Customer Loyalty:  The customer who returned your already purchased product is a very important customer. This is because they came back to you and now you have the chance to win the customer’s trust and drive their future buying decisions and goodwill. You can provide your customers good service with a proactively taken product-return management strategy.


2. Customer Feedback:  Understanding the problems customers are having with your products provides insight that can be used to better design these products for the rest of your customers.  Take note of the most common defects and try to fix these problems for the rest of your customers.


3.  Environmental Footprint:  As landfills across the globe are filling up, having an effective end of life and reuse strategy for your products is becoming critical.  It is a great marketing message to convey to your customers and can also be profitable if you are able to extract enough value out of end of life products vs. their acquisition cost.


4.  Customer Segments:  There are various customer segments interested in buying your products.  Some of them might not be able to buy your products at full price.  Offering refurbished products at a lower price might be an effective way to increase the overall market for your products.


5.  Higher Margins:  Defective products are part of everyday business with or without excessive customer returns.  Products can get damaged while being manufactured, in quality control, sitting in inventory or during the logistics supply chain.  Having an effective refurbished product process can help lower the costs for products that are naturally damaged during everyday business.



Ideas for Better Managing Refurbished Product Sales


Here are some ideas to help you better sell your refurbished products in the market or to other customers willing to buy them:


1.  Empower the customer to return a defective product through a simplified and convenient returns process.


2.  Let customers help you lower your costs.  Get customers to fill out a form or submit documentation on what was defective, how it happened and maybe various shipping locations depending on the type of defect.


3.  Build a streamlined process to check and fix/scrap returned products.


4.  If the product is working after refurbishment, try to offer it to other customers who are seeking refurbished products instead of a new product.  Identify what types of customers/channels are best for reselling refurbished products.  Try to avoid having refurbished products cannibalize new product sales.  Seek to enlarge your market.


5.  Understand the costs and causes of refurbished products and try to limit them.  On the cost side understand the margin of refurbished product sales, what pricing would the market support and your levels of defective products over time.  For causes try to understand who is driving the defects and if certain segments are heavier users requiring a slightly different version of the product.



Channel Selection


The key to being successful in selling refurbished products is ensuring high quality refurbished goods while engaging the right marketplace for your products. Decide how you will sell your products (online auction, online sale, in a store, etc.) and make them available to potential customers. You can list your products in free listing websites such as eBay, AtOncer and Craigslist or in the placing ads on your company’s website. Be sure to add an appropriate picture and be honest about the product’s functional condition since buyers are very cautious when they buy refurbished products.