Understanding and Profiting from Refurbished Items

06 June, 2023 | 5 Min Read

Comprehensive Guide to Refurbished Items on E-commerce Platforms


Unveiling what refurbished items entail, their locations, and strategies for capitalizing on them.

What is a Refurbished Item?

A refurbished item is a product returned to the manufacturer or a certified refurbisher due to various reasons. It is then repaired if necessary, thoroughly tested, and finally put back on the market for resale. Refurbished items may have minor cosmetic damage or may lack original packaging or accessories but should function just as new.

Where Can I Find Refurbished Items?

Refurbished items are widely available through:

  • Online marketplaces that have certified sellers of pre-owned tech products.
  • Brick-and-mortar stores specializing in used or refurbished electronics.

Why Should You Consider Selling Refurbished Items?

Refurbished items offer substantial market opportunities:

  • The global refurbished electronics market was valued at $24 billion in 2018, with expectations of a CAGR exceeding 5% from 2019 to 2025.
  • A significant proportion of consumers (65%) are open to purchasing used or refurbished products from a trusted retailer, with 42% having done so already.
  • Selling refurbished items is environmentally friendly as it reduces e-waste and the need for new resources.
  • The refurbished market offers an affordable and low-risk gateway into the e-commerce industry.

Maximizing Profits from Refurbished Items

Venturing into the sale of refurbished items requires strategic considerations regarding the type of products to sell, the initial investment budget for inventory, the ideal e-commerce platform, and the most suitable seller account type. Moreover, ensure that you have the necessary certifications, insurance, and licenses before listing items for sale.

Choosing Products to Sell

Refurbished items are prevalent in categories such as cell phones, tablets/laptops/computers, gaming consoles & games, cameras & camcorders, wearable tech (smartwatches & fitness trackers), home audio & theater systems, and TVs & home theater projectors.

Amazon’s Policy on Refurbished Items

According to Amazon’s Condition Guidelines for Refurbished Products, a refurbished product must have been returned by a customer, thoroughly inspected and tested to meet new product quality standards, repackaged under the manufacturer, seller, or seller-approved vendor’s supervision, and resold at a significant discount from a new, similar-functioning product.

Seller Account Types on Amazon

Amazon offers three types of seller accounts: Individual, Professional, and Business. Individual accounts do not incur a monthly subscription fee, whereas Professional accounts cost $39.99/month. Business accounts, best suited for high-volume sellers, have no monthly subscription fee.

Glossary Of Terms

Average Selling Price (ASP): The price at which a particular item is sold on average. Calculate your ASP by dividing the total revenue from all sales of a particular item by the total number of that item sold.

Business Account: A type of seller account on Amazon for high-volume sellers. This account type does not have a monthly subscription fee.

Certifications: Required approvals for selling certain types of products on some platforms. For instance, to sell cell phones, you may need certification from the phone manufacturer to access inventory.

Condition Guidelines for Refurbished Products: Amazon’s criteria for refurbished products. According to these guidelines, a refurbished product is returned by a customer, inspected, tested to meet new product quality standards, repackaged under the supervision of the manufacturer, seller or vendor, and resold at a significant discount from a new product with a similar function.

Eco-friendly: Practices or products that do not harm the environment.

E-waste: Discarded electrical or electronic devices. Refurbishing helps reduce e-waste.

Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA): Amazon’s service allowing sellers to store their products in Amazon’s fulfillment centers. Amazon handles storage, packaging, shipping, and customer service for these products.

Individual Account: A type of seller account on Amazon with no monthly subscription fee.

Manufacturer Refurbished Products (MRP): Products returned directly to the manufacturer, inspected, tested, cleaned, and repackaged for resale. These products carry a warranty from the manufacturer and are often sold at significant discounts.

Marketplace: An online platform where multiple sellers can sell products to multiple buyers. Examples include Amazon, eBay, and Walmart.

Merchant Fulfilled Network (MFN): A program that allows Amazon sellers to fulfill orders themselves instead of using Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA).

Online Marketplace: See Marketplace.

Professional Account: A type of seller account on Amazon with a $39.99 monthly subscription fee but does not have the same selling limits as an Individual account.

Refurbished Item: A product that’s been returned to the manufacturer or a certified refurbisher for any reason, repaired if necessary, and put back on the market for resale. They may have minor cosmetic damage or lack original packaging or accessories, but they should work just like new items.

Refurbisher Forum: An organization of companies committed to refurbishing electronics in an environmentally friendly manner and making these products available at affordable prices.

Return On Investment (ROI): A measure of profitability. Calculate it by dividing your net profit by your total investment and multiplying by 100.

Seller Central: Amazon’s platform where sellers create and manage their accounts, list products for sale, process orders, and more.

Selling On Amazon Fee (SOA): The fee that Amazon charges per item sold, calculated as a percentage of the total sales price, including any shipping charges, gift wrap charges, and any taxes paid by the buyer.

Third Party Refurbished Products (3PR): Products returned to retailers or other organizations, inspected, tested, cleaned, and repackaged for resale. These products often come with a warranty from the refurbisher rather than the manufacturer.

Total Investment: The total amount of money spent on an item, including the cost of the item, shipping, storage, and any other related costs.

Hivearchive is a web-based application that helps Amazon FBA sellers track their sales and profits. It provides data analytics and visualization tools to help sellers understand their sales data and make better business decisions. Hivearchive also offers a Profit Tracker tool that helps sellers track their profits over time.

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