Re-commerce or reverse commerce has opened a new avenue of business opportunity all around the globe. But what is re-commerce and what is its future in India?
Re-commerce or reverse commerce is the re-selling of obsolete and other undesirable goods. Vendors are accessed through electronic systems such as internet or even through physical distribution channels. The transaction is made either for cash payout or in exchange for a different product. Most re-commerce companies deal with payback pricing of goods which is easier in comparison with other options. Re-commercers usually refurbish the received goods and re-introduce the functioning products in the second-hand market. They also recycle non-useful products appropriately.
There are various companies across the world working in the re-commerce industry. A few examples are Gazelle in US, and Rebuy in Germany, Re-commerce Solutions in France with Budli being one of the re-commerce companies in India. ZeroWaste is another such startup which operating in same space, which is on an eco-friendly mission while benefitting its primary users.
What is ZeroWaste and how does it work?
Jaipur-based ZeroWaste is a reverse commerce platform for customers to sell their old (used, un-used and overused) electronics for cash. The startup was launched in January 2014 by Prateek Goel and Dixit Singhvi. It offer its customers, a way to self-evaluate their product. “We are providing the much needed link between the consumer of electronic equipment and recyclers/ refurbishers of electronics. There is a huge gap of trust among sellers of electronics and valuation of product is a big grey area,” said Co-Founder & CEO, Prateek Goel.
Talking about their initial days, Co-Founder & VP Operations, Dixit Singhvi told iamwire “We started with Collection Centre Model but we weren’t able to maintain Customer Experience. So we pivoted to our current model of online platform and haven’t looked back since then. Online model has given us control over customer experience and thus strengthening the bond with end consumer. Some majority of our challenges were are from logistics related which we solved by decentralizing it by strengthening our refurbishers and recyclers network (service provider).”
Funding and monetisation model
ZeroWaste’s source of funds has been friends and family, till now. Rs. 10 crore, which it will be deploying
For its revenue, the company charges a service fee, approx. 10%, from the service providers (refurbishers & recyclers).
ZeroWaste’s competitors are ReGlobe, Greendust, YNew, local kabadiwalas, and online / retail store exchange program.
However, commenting on their differentiation factor, Prateek stated, “Unlike other channels, on selling products to ZeroWaste, customer doesn’t have to wait for sale of their product as they can sell at any time, on our website.” He also added “Another major difference is that customer doesn’t have to bear long annoying negotiations to sell their product as they get the price according to their product’s condition and they are in-charge of the sale procedure.”
The startup told that one of major challenge is lack of trust among customers, developed over the time due to unreliable channels. On one hand, ZeroWaste is focusing on educating its customers, and on the other hand, its operations team has soft skill training program for service providers to improve customer experience.
Present status and future plans
The startup has processed 1,400 customer orders so far. The company made a revenue of Rs. 2 crore in last 9 months. Going forward, it is planning to launch in Ahmedabad, Surat and Pune by mid of January 2016.
“We are also planning to launch in other major cities in early 2016. We will soon launch our app for better engagement, too,” mentioned Prateek.