Amazon has opened the door to more second-hand products being offered by sellers on its site, last week announcing two initiatives which it said would make it easier for businesses to resell customer-returned items or overstock inventory.
The two new Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) programmes aim to provide small businesses with another way to profit from selling items online, while also helping to build a more circular economy, according to the online retail and tech giant.
Once fully rolled out, Amazon said it expected the FBA programmes to give more than 300 million products a second life each year.
"Customer returns are a fact of life for all retailers, and what to do with those products is an industry-wide challenge," said Libby Johnson McKee, director for Amazon WW returns, recommerce, and sustainability. "These new programs are examples of the steps we're taking to ensure that products sold on Amazon - whether by us or our small business partners - go to good use and don't become waste."
One of the two new programmes - FBA Liquiditions - is already live in the US, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, and is also set to launch soon in the UK. It provides sellers on Amazon with the option to use the firm's existing wholesale liquidation partners and technology to recoup potential losses on returned and overstock inventory, the company explained.
Previously, a seller on Amazon would either need to have returned items sent back to them by customers, or have Amazon donate the product on their behalf. Amazon said FBA Liquidations was, therefore, designed to help firms recover some value from their returned and overstock items through selling in bulk, while also reducing waste and environmental impacts.
In addition, FBA Grade and Resell - which gives third party sellers the option to sell returned products on Amazon as 'used' items instead of having them sent back or donated - is now also available in the UK and the US, with a view to launching in Germany, France, Italy, and Spain by early next year, the company said.
It means that when an item is returned by a customer it can be automatically be routed to the new FBA Grade and Resell programme, at which point Amazon will evaluate the item and grade it along its four standard conditions for resale - 'used', 'like new', 'very good' and 'acceptable'.
The moves follow the launch of FBA Donations across the US, UK and France in 2019 and 2020, offering sellers the chance to donate their returned or overstock items to Amazon's charity partners, which the firm claims has since seen 67 million items donated to good causes.