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Simran Says: The business of recycling ...
Posted On: 12-01-2011 00:00:00 11

The auto industry was possibly the first to catch on to the retail potential of used merchandise. We therefore saw the launch of auto retail businesses which only sell used cars. The mobile phone industry also sees a high amount of recirculation of old phones as affluent customers upgrade to newer models with the older models going up for resale. Most recently I read about the potential of recycling in the context of the gaming industry. The Chennai basis books, music, games retailer Landmark is offering a buy back facility for its games which it then puts up for re-sale. In the process it ensures regular customer return and a higher margin. The sale of pre-owned merchandise is reported to contribute upto 15% of the category (depending on the store), which is still less than the 30- 40% it is said to contribute internationally. The success of these categories throws up the question of which other categories could benefit from similar schemes. We have had retailers use recycling as a popular promotional gimmick in the past. Big Bazaar does an annual event where customers are encouraged to return anything from utensils to old tyres to apparel. Similarly apparel retailers make exchange offers – get your old trouser and buy a new one at a rebate – but this type of promotion is aimed at selling new merchandise with the old merchandise being sold to a “kabari wala” or given in charity. In a bottom-of-the pyramid driven country like ours there may be more potential in this segment than is currently being realized. In electronics, white goods and computers for instance. While the recycling is happening at an unorganized retail level, I can’t help but think of the potential of a chain of stores of recycled electronics and computers backed by an after-sale-service facility. I think that may well be an idea whose time has come.

 
 
 

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