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Since its launch in Ireland 18 months ago, the online marketplace for refurbished products Renovated has grown steadily and now claims to have sold products to 2% of Irish households.

The company, founded by Pierre Windischhofer, Kilian Kaminski and Jurgen Riedl in Vienna five years ago, started selling smartphones and has since expanded its line to include laptops, tablets, wearables and audio products.

More recently the market has launched games consoles and kitchen/household appliances including robot vacuum cleaners and as Ireland’s first such platform Refurbed sees itself as a competitor as Amazon and eBay as well as smaller outfits such as CEX.

Refurbed also sells clothing and sports equipment in the German-speaking markets and Padraig Powerthe company’s marketing director in Ireland, said there was “certainly a long-term goal” for the Irish site to expand into more categories beyond its “bread and butter” electronics.

Hailing from Co Limerick, Power himself is a UDC graduated in neurosciences and opted, after a year in France, to do a master’s degree in marketing, working as a marketing manager for the Health Services Staff Savings Fund before joining Refurbed.

Power is Refurbed’s only employee based in Ireland, although the company has four Irish employees in Vienna, and he is also responsible for sourcing products and partnering companies to sell their products through the platform. Refurbed employs 260 people in total.

He estimates there are around 5-10 Irish merchants now selling through Refurbed, and says the company has planted around 46,000 trees in Ireland – one for every product sold on the site.

“When we started, we wanted to enter the market with a good value proposition for our customers,” says Power. “Since then we have been continuously growing. At the start of the year we reached the milestone of being in 1% of Irish households, and now we are in around one in 50 Irish households.

“Other than that, we’re now seeing consistent stats where 25% of customers are actually referred directly by family and friends, so that’s good because people trust and recommend us, and over 20% of customers are loyal customers.

“Over the last 18 months we have developed great confidence in the Irish economy. And people who have come to us just for the phones…once they have seen the quality of the phone they have come back and they got other categories, so we saw an increase in laptop and tablet sales.”

In terms of securing merchant partners for the platform, Power says Refurbed’s integration tools make it easy for retailers to sell on the site, and the company tries to include them in campaigns and give them a seamless overview. of the market.

Renovated founders (lr) Jürgen Riedl, Peter Windischhofer and Kilian Kaminski.

“It usually seems like traders start by putting some stock in and see what happens, and then they’re very surprised at how fast and how well they’re selling, so they tend to add some more and do Renovated some essential to their business.

Heading into the fourth quarter and the all-important Christmas shopping season, Power says Refurbed expects “an even stronger recovery” in sales over the coming months as the market recently opened for household and kitchen appliances.

Merchants across Europe can sell through Refurbed once their products meet the company’s criteria, and once accepted, they can sell across Europe through the site, which takes an undisclosed commission from sales. which vary by product and category.

When launched, Refurbed cited customs delays and additional taxes for Irish consumers post-Brexit, the wider shift to online shopping caused by Covid-19 and the growing sustainability agenda for its decision to enter the Irish market.

With the current cost of living crisis, customers have been drawn to Refurbed primarily for its lower prices, with items selling for 40% less than first-hand products on average. Discounts are lower on newer items such as the iPhone, but some items could be 50-60% cheaper than when purchased new.

Durability is a secondary factor in the decision to buy with Refurbed for many customers, followed by quality, but consumer impulse varies by market.

“For the most part, across the continent, we see that there are countries where the price is even more important, and that’s mainly because there would be lower budgets and lower wages there,” Power said.

“Irish consumers seem to be a bit more informed about what refurbishment is, because in some markets obviously refurbishment isn’t even really a term people would be used to.”

Prior to launching in Ireland, Refurbed completed a $17m Series A round and last year a $54m Series B round, and Power has confirmed that the company is currently discussing future investments.

Going forward, Power says Refurbed plans to “refine” everything it does and expand its product portfolios, and there’s a general effort to make the same products and services available in all of its markets – l Austria, Germany, Italy, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark and Ireland.

Photo: Padraig Power.