Furniture and bulky goods: new initiatives for re-use

While second-hand digital platforms made their mark in the fashion sector (Vinted accounted for 12.6% of the volume of clothing purchased in France in H1 2023), furniture retailers, with their bulky products that are expensive to move, face a different challenge. How to add value to returned and second-hand products? With which technological partners? Mind Retail interviewed Ikea, Miliboo, Conforama, Darty, Vitra, Rendez-vous Deco, Smartback and Izidore to understand the new levers of reverse logistics.

Through Sophie Baqué. Published on 06 October 2023 à 16h30 - Update on 09 October 2023 à 15h21

In the furniture sector, the recovery rate of “non-new” products has become a key KPI. Retailers previously outsourced this task to players such as Veepee, or let private individuals manage resale of their own second-hand furniture on C2C platforms such as Leboncoin. Now they’re taking back control. Since January 1, 2022 under A.G.E.C. law, French retailers are banned from destruction of their unsold goods. They also have to provide their customers with spare parts. Instead of selling used products at low prices to a destocker like Noz, or even giving them away, they are now seeking to resell them in the most efficient and measurable manner.

The issue of reuse includes but is not limited to return management. In the furniture sector, it is more recent than at fashion and electronics retailers, where e-commerce gained traction earlier (products have a barcode and are easy to deliver via a letterbox). While the average return rate in Europe is around 25% (across all sectors), the return rate for furniture pure-players is around 5% in volume. Each retailer has a specific reuse strategy. For instance, players such as Zalando and Zara have been tackling this issue head-on for several years.…