Does resale make sense for Dick’s Sporting Goods?

Discussion
Photos: Instagram/@outandbackoutdoor; @dickssportinggoods
May 03, 2022

Dick’s Sporting Goods is piloting an in-store buy-back program for select outdoor hard and soft goods.

The program is being done in partnership with Out&Back Outdoor, a re-seller founded in late 2019. Out&Back’s platform works with brands such as Patagonia, Marmot, The North Face, Arc’teryx, Carhartt, Herschel Supply, Pendleton, Roxy and Spyder. Dick’s partnership marks Out&Back Outdoor’s entry into hard gear resale.

Along with previously accepted items like outerwear, tents, backpacks and other soft goods, newly accepted categories by Out&Back as part of the new Dick’s alliance include skis and snowboards from Burton, Atomic, Bent Metal, Blizzard Tecnica, GNU and Nordica. Additional categories will be added as the partnership evolves.

“We launched Out&Back because we knew there was an unmet need for reselling outdoor and adventure-based gear,” said Barruch Ben-Zekry, Out&Back’s CEO. “When listening to our consumers’ needs, it became clear that an all-in-one platform inclusive of equipment and accessories was the obvious next step for us.”

Dick’s will pilot the program at its locations in two key outdoor markets, Denver and Pittsburgh, as well as Public Lands, the retailer’s new outdoor-themed concept, in Cranberry Twp, PA. Stores will accept unwanted or unused gear from Friday through Sunday in exchange for cash payments, depending on merchandise condition.

As part of all gear buy-backs, one percent of the value of offers given to sellers will be donated to 1% For The Planet, the environmental non-profit.

“Working with Out&Back to give people an opportunity to explore the outdoors and reduce our environmental footprint at the same time is a win-win,” said Peter Land, chief sustainability officer at Dick’s.

A number of retailers and brands, largely across the apparel space, have been launching resale efforts. Beyond taking back equipment in addition to apparel items, Dick’s stands out for accepting a wide array of brands. Gap, H&M, Madewell, Urban Outfitters and DSW are among those accepting any brands as part of their in-store buy-back programs, while Lululemon, Levi’s, Patagonia and Nike only take back their own product.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does a resale program make sense for Dick’s Sporting Goods? Do you see more benefits for retailers in accepting a wide array of brands versus focusing only on the brands they sell?

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"The resale market for sporting goods has been active for decades... It’s about time Dick's entered the mix to serve this massively growing market."

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27 Comments on "Does resale make sense for Dick’s Sporting Goods?"


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Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

YES, resale makes great sense for Dick’s. Lots of people buy sporting goods with the intention to pursue a sport only to give it up. As a result, garages and basements are full of old and slightly used sporting goods equipment. Accepting a wide range of goods — beyond their own brands — creates a larger selection of used inventory which will help attract buyers.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

Resale is a popular component of REI’s business via its various garage sales and its Used Gear shop. Secondhand has also been a success story for individual brands like Patagonia and The North Face. On that basis it makes sense for Dick’s to build a resale proposition – especially as there are plenty of people willing to both sell and buy used outdoor and sporting gear.

David Naumann
BrainTrust

Great points Neil! I am a big fan of REI’s garage sales and online Used Gear. The used clothing and gear markets have been one of the hottest segments in retail. This is a smart strategy for Dick’s and I hope they expand it to Golf Galaxy.

Lee Peterson
BrainTrust

Re-sale is projected to be a $70 billion category by ’24 so, it’s absolutely necessary in my opinion for ALL retailers to at least test it, like Dick’s is. Think of the three “Rs” (reduce, re-use, recycle) for starters, then the fun, the increased traffic and the price factor, and you’ve got a great business on your hands. Now operationally it’ll be a challenge, but that’s what tests are for! Get the bugs out now, as re-sale is for real.

Katie Thomas
BrainTrust

Agreed. In the simplest form, it’s a great test. They may come to find that they only find value in accepting back gear and equipment rather than apparel, but it will still provide great learning about both their consumers and their businesses.

Dr. Stephen Needel
BrainTrust

So they are going to compete with the well-established Play It Again Sports, but perhaps with more soft goods available. I’m not sure this is unique and I see them morphing into the other areas (like exercise equipment) that PIAS is heavily into. Sounds like a cash drain.

Michael La Kier
BrainTrust

This is a great idea that expands Dick’s audience and offerings. The retailer already has a bike buy-back program so this is a natural extension. By expanding their offerings they can connect with more shoppers.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

It makes perfect sense for Dick’s to go into the resale business. This is yet another example of the fact that when you start with quality it is that much easier to refurbish and resell. Turns out that there are lots of retailers and lots of brands that will have great success by going into the “used car” business.

Ken Morris
BrainTrust

Resale makes perfect sense for Dick’s. Consumers now have an authentic source that is not Craigslist or OfferUp. Do you really need to buy brand new products that you use for recreation? Many recreational items I buy are for sports that I play occasionally or for outdoor activities at home. They don’t need to be new. Golf and tennis balls, as well as clothing, are the exceptions. 

Getting a handful of cash can be a great incentive for, well, spending it. I think this is a key element that will make this a win-win for Dick’s and its customers. Who can turn in a snowboard for cash and then walk out with nothing to take to the mountain? The Friday through Sunday timing is brilliant, too. Any true outdoors enthusiast will not want to miss an entire weekend of fun. Most will buy something to replace the gear they’ve just sold back to Dick’s.

David Weinand
BrainTrust

I definitely think this is a more viable program than Lululemon’s resale program. Outdoor gear usually has a long life and much of it is priced at the high-end so the ability for consumers to have an option for slightly used gear at lower prices makes a ton of sense. Plus, marketing this around the “circular economy” trend will look good for Dick’s.

DeAnn Campbell
BrainTrust

The resale market for sporting goods has been active for decades through garage sales and local swap meets. It’s about time Dick’s entered the mix to serve this massively growing market. Furthermore this will help bring Dick’s into better alignment with their brand partners like The North Face, Patagonia and others who have been active resellers for many years.

Nicola Kinsella
BrainTrust

It totally does. And while camping and outdoor goods make sense because they tend to have a high value — so there is more margin to work with — Dick’s would build a really loyal following if they enabled trade in and sales of used sporting equipment. Kids grow so quickly, especially their feet. So being the “go-to” place for parents to shop used equipment, even at lower income levels, would be a great opportunity to build brand awareness and loyalty long term with the younger generation.

Mohamed Amer, PhD
BrainTrust

Resale makes absolute sense for Dick’s Sporting Goods. The resale market is growing and getting more relevant across categories and for more population segments. In 2020, 33 million Americans bought second-hand products for the first time, and that market is expected to double in five years. In a resale model, you gain critical mass faster by accepting other brands, which offers the consumer more choices and more reasons to come in. Great initiative!

Gary Sankary
BrainTrust

This makes a ton of sense for Dick’s. The secondary market for sporting goods has been strong for many years, especially for the “durable” goods like skis and camping gear. People lose interest in a given sport, kids grow out of equipment (my kids were hockey goalies, I speak from certain expertise in outgrown expensive sporting goods). This is a great move for Dick’s and positions them well to be the one-stop shop for every sporting goods consumer.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

What took them so long? Forty years ago, the local outdoor stores were all reselling hard athletic gear. In addition, there were seasonal gear swaps sponsored by towns.

As has been noted in previous RetailWire discussions many times, the resale business is booming. The key to success for Dick’s and others that participate is that the used merchandise must be refurbished, as they say, “like new.”

Andrew Blatherwick
BrainTrust

There are several buy back schemes now up and running. I’m not sure how they are working but I am sure that they do create some real operational challenges like pricing, condition of what is accepted, etc. In some ways, hardlines are easier than soft lines so it makes sense to extend into those categories, but they still create operational issues. If the secondhand market is hitting their sales then this makes sense. It’s also a good PR story that they are being eco-friendly. Still, this is a defense strategy and not one that they would be getting into if the online competition was not pushing them this way. What I struggle to understand is why they are partnering with an online competitor to do this – why exactly do they need that?

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

I’m surprised they weren’t already in the business. I think the resale strategy is also a perfect way to get customers into sports. Think of all the sports it will make available to first timers and long timers. It will generate great traffic and up-sales.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

Resale makes all the sense in the world, depending on the item and condition. Reselling a high-end snowboard used once? great idea. Reselling a used pair of Carhart jeans? Not so much. As to the range of goods accepted, the key is determining if the items represent real value to the key portion of the addressable market or not. If they do, I’d ask why they aren’t stocked in the first place.

Lucille DeHart
BrainTrust

Resale makes complete sense for Dick’s, especially for children’s sporting gear like bats and helmets that are costly and easily outgrown year over year. It makes sense for branded retailers to only accept their products into the program, but for stores like Dick’s that carry an array of brands, they should cater to the customer and take back all brands even if they weren’t purchased in their stores. This will not build store loyalty, but it will drive traffic into stores and provide the opportunity for conversion.

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust

I have my doubts about this program for Dick’s as it stands a risk of confusing their brand in the minds of customers. Worse, it is not clear to me that there’s much upside for Dick’s, what do they stand to gain – some vaguely green offering?

Looking at the balance of risk and reward, it doesn’t look like a good choice to me.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust

While the details are not clear about how Dick’s will resell and merchandise the used gear in their stores, the concept is sure to be a winner for them. REI has a similar program that works well. To grow beyond the current pilot test, Dick’s will need to properly market the new service to their customers to raise awareness. I expect this will be successful for Dick’s – consumers are likely to have slightly used gear in their homes they could sell back to Dick’s because they no longer play that sport, have outgrown the gear, or have children who’ve lost interest in that sport. All these scenarios create opportunity for Dick’s to succeed with resale.

Kenneth Leung
BrainTrust

Retailers need to drive traffic to the stores and resale is one area that can help. Given the size of the store and the destination format, as long as they have a good process to vet and price the inventory well, it will help with the revenue and allow them to cross sell other new items.

Holden Bale
Guest
For quite a while, Patagonia as a mono-brand and REI as a multi-brand retailer have “cornered” the market on sustainability in outdoors generally (so, a bit adjacent to sporting goods). Not that they’ve owned it completely, because it’s very relevant to many brands in that space, but there’s no doubt they’ve been the leaders of the movement at scale. We’ve seen the inflection point in our research over the last 18 months or so where consumers are increasingly considering resale as first or second-choice buying options across many apparel and accessories categories, especially in more technical equipment (e.g., mountaineering). When fashion, which is all about identity and culture, leans into resale (the Vestiaire’s of the world; existing brands like Farfetch debuting their Fix service last year), you know it’s become a consumer norm. If you take the cultural/consumer preference variable, factor in economic (all the capital flooding the market in the resale space, the growing specter of inflation + supply chain shocks) and potential regulatory variables (the growing likelihood select governments will mandate more sustainable… Read more »
Patricia Vekich Waldron
Staff

Bravo! Every golfer I know has a bag of unused clubs they’d love to trade in.

Ananda Chakravarty
BrainTrust

Sports is an important place for resale as equipment and apparel can be very specific to a sport and hand-me-downs are an inherent part of managing sports. When even vendors like Play It Again Sports thrive and SidelineSwap bartering and selling sites (along with eBay) make up a substantial part of this secondary market, it’s a surprise Dick’s hasn’t jumped in sooner. Add to that a viable avenue for reselling difficult to refurbish returns, it’s a no-brainer.

Depending on the retailer and types of product sold will determine whether reselling only store sold products make sense. For Dicks, their breadth of relationships means a broader option makes more sense.

Rachelle King
BrainTrust

Given the focus on environmental sustainability today, this is a smart move by Dick’s. Increasingly, consumers are environmentally conscious and this resale programs speak their language, especially the 1% back to For the Planet.

Further, most out door equipment does not see full lifetime use. Some, never get used at all. This program is a way for consumers to feel good about letting go of their “someday, maybe” camping trip gear that’s hogging space for their next ambitious adventure.

Anil Patel
BrainTrust

Having a buyback and resale program can be an excellent strategy to retain customers and build customer loyalty. The biggest challenge for retailers right now is to bring customers to the store. So when customers come to the store to sell their used merchandise:

  • retailers have an additional touchpoint to engage with the customer.
  • retailers can increase the probability of repeat purchases (to a large extent)

However, there are costs associated with preparing the used merchandise for resale and these products need to be sold at a lower price. So how would retailers price the resold merchandise? And, more importantly, how would retailers be able to scale this business model while remaining profitable?

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"The resale market for sporting goods has been active for decades... It’s about time Dick's entered the mix to serve this massively growing market."

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