April 21, 2021

Amazon Renewed: What it is and How it Works

By Kevin Lamb / Amazon

Barely used items—the culprits of many an A-to-Z claim and the bane of an ecommerce seller’s existence—now have a safe place to call home on Amazon: Amazon Renewed.

But what does Amazon Renewed mean, and is it worth it for your brand? Here’s a quick look at what you need to know about Amazon’s latest offering.

What is a renewed product?

According to Amazon, a renewed product is a high-quality, like-new item that’s either refurbished, preowned, or open-box. Pre-owned products have been owned by a previous customer but remain in fully functioning condition, even if they may have minor cosmetic issues, like scratches or dents. Refurbished products are used products that have been restored to new or like-new condition. Open-box products are typically unused but without the complete original packaging, which may have been damaged in a warehouse or opened by a customer before being returned.

That seriously dented water bottle or scuffed-brown shoe in your returns department? They probably won’t cut it. But a used item will more than likely qualify as an Amazon Renewed product if it's as good as new, fully functional, and has every relevant accessory a customer would expect if they were purchasing it new.

Amazon Renewed Program Explained | Pattern

What does Amazon Renewed mean?

Amazon Renewed is the exclusive program that allows Amazon vendors to sell their refurbished, preowned, or open-box products for a discount price. Amazon thoroughly vets the quality of these products to ensure they are in like-new condition.

To qualify as an Amazon Renewed seller, your brand needs to meet Amazon’s performance bar, which means your products have to be tested and certified to look and work like new. A typical refurbishment process for an Amazon Renewed qualified product includes a diagnostic test, replacement of any defective parts, thorough cleaning and inspection, and repackaging when necessary.

Not every product category qualifies for distribution through the Amazon Renewed program, but renewed products in the following categories do:

  • Automotive parts
  • Cameras
  • Headphones and audio
  • Home appliances
  • Home and industrial tools
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Laptops and computers
  • Musical instruments
  • Outdoor and sports
  • Office equipment
  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Television sets
  • Video game consoles
  • Watches

How to join the Amazon Renewed program

Knowing what the Amazon Renewed program is, and even knowing that you want to join it, doesn't mean you know where to get started. We've outlined the steps for entry into the program below.

1. Become an Amazon seller

If you haven’t already, now is the time to register as an Amazon seller. Once you’ve decided on a selling plan and strategy, you can create a seller account through Amazon’s website. You’ll need your business email address, a credit card, a government ID, tax information, a phone number, and a bank account. While you’re at it, you may also consider joining Amazon Brand Registry, which provides Amazon sellers with numerous tools to create the best experience possible for customers.

2. Meet the criteria for Amazon Renewed

Not every brand will qualify for Amazon Renewed. Among other things, you must supply invoices for at least $50,000 worth of qualifying refurbished purchases in the 90 days leading up to the application date. In the same time period, you must also have an ODR of 0.8% or less. There are additional qualifications listed on Amazon’s website.

3. Apply for Amazon Renewed

Once you’re an Amazon seller and qualified to apply for Amazon Renewed, you can submit your application through the program website or by emailing renewed-application@amazon.com with the necessary documentation.

4. Start selling!

Amazon will let you know if your application has been approved within about 10 business days. Once you’re approved, you can either create new listings for your renewed products or add renewed products to existing product listings. Your product listings will perform best when you put effort into your listings and optimize them with tools like A+ content.

Now that you know the what and how of Amazon Renewed, you may be wondering the why. Why might selling through Amazon Renewed be a good option for your brand? Why might it not be?

Here are some things to consider.

Pros of Amazon Renewed

Because of its high standards for entry, Amazon Renewed is an exclusive program, which means less competition and more opportunity to move returned product that you couldn’t otherwise move.

A key benefit of Amazon Renewed is that it allows you to reach a whole different demographic of consumers. Customers that aren’t yet willing to buy a product for full price can become new customer, possibly leading to repeat purchases from your brand in the future.

Amazon will also back your Amazon Renewed products with a 90-day guarantee. Keep in mind the following disclaimer from their site: “This product has been professionally inspected and tested by Amazon-qualified suppliers. The product may have minimal scratches or dents, and a battery with at least 80% capacity. Box may be generic and accessories may not be original, but will be compatible and fully functional. This product is eligible for a replacement or refund within 90 days of receipt if you are not satisfied.”

Cons of Amazon Renewed

While Amazon Renewed has benefits for many brands, it may not be the right option for your brand. One thing you’ll want to consider is what selling through Amazon Renewed may do for your brand image.

Brands may not want their customers to experience their products as "renewed." This may especially be the case with luxury items, which heavily rely on delivering a premium customer experience with new products that cannot be replicated with an open-box product.

Another drawback of Amazon Renewed is that renewed products appear in search together with new products, meaning you’ll have to ensure customers can easily differentiate renewed products from new ones.

Having your brand on Amazon Renewed may also set it up for further instances of arbitrage.

If the discount on Amazon Renewed renewed products is too steep, arbitrage sellers will likely buy the products for the discounted price and then make a profit by selling them for closer to the retail price on marketplaces like eBay or Facebook Marketplace.

To learn more about becoming an Amazon Renewed seller and what’s required in the application process, visit the Amazon Renewed website or reach out to one of Pattern’s Amazon experts.

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