Ask Sourcely: What Is Recommerce?


This post begins our Ask Sourcely series. Got a question about recommerce, maximizing your business success, attracting new customers, or anything else? Just send it our way.

What is recommerce indeed? At first sight, it looks a lot like a simple misspelling of e-commerce (as in electronic or digital commerce, also known as online shopping).

But that’s not the case.

Recommerce is a wholistic, green, and profitable business strategy that takes advantage of the ever-growing flow of new electronic devices entering our market.

The Lowdown on Recommerce

As with any concept, the best way to start with a definition. Techopedia defines recommerce as the following:

Recommerce is a general term for a practice in which a seller of goods allows for a certain kind of exchange between customers. In recommerce situations, those who have bought products can “sell back” obsolete or otherwise undesirable products, either for a cash payout or in exchange for a different product.

In other words, it’s a seller and buyer switching roles – the seller allowing previous buyers of a device in the same market to simply trade in their old devices instead of having to throw it out.

An Example of Effective Recommerce

The concept of recommerce is best understood through a simple example. Every year, Apple debuts a new version of its immensely popular iPhone that includes new features and functionality. Apple’s regular customers love these new features, so many of them look to buy the new phone as soon as it hits the market. But what do they do with their current device?

In a world without recommerce, they have to throw it out, give it to someone else – either way, they don’t get anything for it. But thanks to merchants offering recommerce alternatives, customers can trade in their devices, getting either cash or a rebate on their new purchase in return.

Recommerce Can Boost Your Business

The benefits of recommerce for the consumer are obvious. But what about the merchants? Why would businesses want to buy back old devices?

Because they also benefit from recommerce in a variety of ways:

  • Other markets still exist. In emerging countries such as India, China and Brazil, the desire to purchase older devices is rapidly growing. Reselling devices in these markets allows companies engaging in recommerce to establish a foothold in those countries.
  • Parts remain valuable. Even if the desire in emerging markets isn’t there, recycling parts can be a valuable business alternative that increases profits.
  • Sustainability. Becoming environmentally responsible is an essential reason why many businesses are engaging in recommerce. Allowing consumers to trade in their old electronics helps keep them out of the trash, and get them (either whole or in part) to areas where they’re still needed. It’s a perfect solution for businesses looking to go green.

Of course, this is just a cursory explanation of the complex topic that is recommerce. Got a question that needs an answer? Contact us today!



Nima Jacob Nojoumi

Teen Entrepreneur. Former adviser @GoDaddy. Founder at House of Genius AZ @HofGAZ. Co-Founder & CEO @GetSourcely. Teamwork makes the dream work.