Nike introduces reconditioned shoes offering
The market for reconditioned consumer products is expanding fast, notably after the success of Back Market, an online marketplace dedicated to refurbished electronic devices that is active in 12 countries. Product reconditioning is a commercial option that, like the increasingly popular second-hand market, has caught the eye of a growing number of players, among them Nike.
On 12 April, the sportswear giant and world’s number one sport outfitter announced it has started selling reconditioned shoes through the Nike Refurbished programme. After a shopper returns a pair of shoes to Nike within a 60-day return window, the shoes are classified in one of three categories within the programme: like new (shoes worn very briefly), gently worn (used a little longer) and slightly flawed (shoes with small manufacturing defects and whose colours are a little off).
“ The [Nike Refurbished] team uses a number of different products and tools to return shoes to as close to a new condition as possible. Once the shoes land back in a Nike store, the price is based on footwear type and condition grade. Handy messaging on the boxes makes it easy to see what kind of shoes are inside, the condition grade, and more,” stated Nike in a press release. Consumers who buy Nike Refurbished shoes enjoy the same after-sale service available for any other Nike product, and are able to return them if they wish within 60 days of purchasing.
At a time when resale sites are growing in number, Nike has created this commercial option in an attempt to capture a share of the second-hand market. The Nike Refurbished programme is premièring at 15 Nike stores in the USA, but the plan is to scale it up, both in the US and elsewhere. It is not a chance occurrence that a giant like Nike is venturing down this road. In the financial year closed on May 31 2020, the US group generated $25 billion of its $37 billion revenue with footwear.
Nike Refurbished is an extra element within Nike’s Move to Zero programme, aiming for zero carbon emissions and zero waste, which the Beaverton-based group launched two years ago. As part of Move to Zero, Nike is active in researching and adopting more sustainable materials, in increasing sport practitioners’ awareness of climate change issues, and in developing new eco-design solutions to reduce materials use and boost recycling.
Nike Refurbished is not simply about reconditioning products with a view to reselling them. According to Nike, shoes that are too damaged to be resold but can still be worn are donated to charity partners, while those that have reached the end of their useful life are processed within the Nike Grind material recycling programme. It remains to be seen how many of the millions of Nike shoes sold worldwide each year the Nike Refurbished programme will eventually reclaim.
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