inside burrow's returns strategy: An interview with cfo kelley hicks
Recommerce (the resale of returned, overstock, open-box items) has been gaining popularity in recent years as consumers search for more value, lower price points and become increasingly environmentally conscious. Retail brands have also been turning to recommerce to recoup their losses from returns. Burrow, a furniture company known for its innovative design, partnered with FloorFound to launch its recommerce program, offering customers a way to purchase open-box and ‘like new’ items.
We spoke with Burrow’s CFO, Kelley Hicks, to understand why they decided to invest in recommerce, the benefits they derive from it, and how they see recommerce impacting their business economics.
Q: Why did you/your team decide to invest in recommerce? Were there any notable existing pain points in managing returns or resale you were trying to address?
A: Burrow decided to invest in recommerce for a few reasons. First off, we care about the environment and love that recommerce allows our products to live longer, more useful lives, even if they weren’t the right fit for their first owner, or if they got a little damaged. We also feel that it’s important to provide options to consumers looking for different price points, so they can enjoy Burrow’s innovative design even if they can’t afford a brand new version of our furniture.
Then, there’s the financial benefit of reducing how much we lose on returns. We had tried various ways to manage returns ourselves, but were excited to find an all-in solution that could solve our needs but also provide a great service to the end consumer.
Q: Were there any specific initiatives the recommerce investment was tied to and/or metrics you intended the program to impact?
A: In the past two years, we have been focused on increasing efficiency across our P&L and monetizing returns has been a great way to improve our economics.
Q: How do you see recommerce impacting Burrow’s goals in 2023?
A: This has been a high growth channel for us, and we are excited to see where it can go. It was very helpful to consumers in 2021 and 2022 when furniture had particularly long lead times due to the supply chain crunch. I think it will be an even greater benefit in 2023 when consumers are being affected by inflation and possibly a recession, and are becoming increasingly creative in how they can find value.
Q: How would you recommend other CFOs & business leaders think about recommerce?
A: It is an important part of any buying strategy and an important way to reach the consumer. The environmental benefit is also important. I think we will only see recommerce become more and more integrated into the companies themselves. That said, it is a logistics game and it is very hard to pull off without a trusted partner.
In short, Burrow’s recommerce program has not only provided them with a new growth channel via a lower price point, but has also helped them reduce their financial losses from returns. With the recent macroeconomic challenges and an increased focus on P&L efficiency, recommerce is proving to be a valuable asset for Burrow. To learn more about how recommere programs work, check out https://floorfound.com/solution.