Amazon Australia has expanded the reach of its marketplace, now offering refurbished products through certified sellers under its ‘Renewed’ program.
Products sold through this program will have a six-month selling partner-backed warranty, and will be inspected and tested by suppliers to ensure they look and work as new.
“Renewed provides Australian customers with great discounts on good as new products, paired with the reassurance of a six month warranty, and the convenience of having it delivered to their door,” Amazon Australia country manager Matt Furlong said.
“Aussie shoppers are savvy, and we hope that Renewed gives them another way to get the products they want for an even better price.”
Renewed products will be available across mobile phones, computers, tablets, headphones, and wireless speaker, with more categories to come soon. Certified resellers currently include Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Lenovo, HP and Dell.
Australian marketplace Kogan also offers refurbished products, though also offers a grading system to signify the item’s condition – from grade A to grade C.
Grade A refers to a product that is in near-new condition, while grades B and C show further use and degradation.
While Renewed products at present do not present this information on the store page, Amazon notes the refurbishment process typically includes a full diagnostic test, replacement of any defective parts, a thorough cleaning and inspection process, and repackaging by the seller or refurbisher.
A growing economy
According to Ahmad Elhawli, founder of sports marketplace Sportsfinda, the used goods industry is a $34 billion industry.
“It used to be [these products] would sit at home or collect dust, nowadays they’re living in a sharing economy – it’s a lot more acceptable to share things with others or purchase products that were used by others,” Elhawli told Inside Retail.
Swinburne University’s lecturer of marketing Dr. Jason Pallant said that, while this is still a relatively small chunk of the overall market, demand for second-hand and refurbished goods is growing.
“Similar to general retail, online has facilitated this type of shopping, allowing consumers to find an expanded range of products whenever and wherever they choose,” Pallant told Inside Retail.
However, unlike a more traditional marketplace offering, Amazon’s stricter control over how these goods are certified could lead to less discounting, meaning less incentive for consumers to shop refurbished.
“On the surface, this provides some apparent benefits to consumers as Amazon are promising to tightly check the quality of both products and sellers, as well as offering warranties on certain items,” Pallant said.
“However, these securities come at a price. Stricter requirements on sellers will likely be passed on to buyers through higher prices than might be found through other systems.”
Why conscious consumers buy refurbished
While buying new products typically comes with peace-of-mind, buying refurbished tends to not only come at a lower price point, but also at a lower impact environmentally – decreasing demand for manufacturing new products unnecessarily, as well as the effects of electronic waste.
“Considering the speed at which new products are created, and the amount of waste this creates, it is good to see businesses of various kinds working into the idea of the circular economy, and trying to help products be reused and recycled,” Pallant said.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme humans produce as much as 50 million tonnes of e-waste per year, with only 20 per cent of this recycled – the remaining 80 per cent ending up in landfills to potentially contaminate soil and groundwater.
“As consumers become more environmentally conscious, these types of initiatives are positive steps,” Pallant said.
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