Dick’s Sporting Goods and Out&Back Outdoor Expand Partnership – WWD

Out&Back Outdoor, an online platform for buying and selling sporting goods and apparel, is only two years old but is already expanding its partnership with Dick’s Sporting Goods and Dick’s new outdoor specialty store, Public Lands.

The online resale platform recently announced that it has added four new Dick’s Sporting Goods locations where customers can come in and sell unwanted gear and clothing, making it easier to send them in. The new locations are in Torrance and Santa Rosa, California; Portland, Oregon, and Midvale, Utah.

Out&Back already has partnerships with other Dick’s Sporting Goods in Denver and Charlottesville, Virginia. The partnership with Public Lands includes locations in Pittsburgh and Huntington, New York; Kennesaw, Georgia, Framingham, Massachusetts and in November Medford, Oregon.

“In the outdoor gear category, the retail touchpoints of Dick’s and Public Lands give us the opportunity to include larger items,” said Barruch Ben-Zekry, founder and chief executive officer of the Denver-based vertically managed marketplace platform.

The business also has a climate-friendly, philanthropic side: Dick’s and Out&Back donate 1 percent of the value of their merchandise to 1% for the Planet, founded by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and Craig Mathews, a fly fishing retail outfitter in Montana. It funds environmental organizations dedicated to protecting the planet.

Ben-Zekry started Out&Back in late 2019 after nearly seven years at VF Corp. had worked, most recently as Senior Director of New Business Models.

The idea behind Out&Back was to take all the outdoor gear and clothing cluttering up people’s closets and garages and find a new home for it. Ben-Zekry knows all about it. Raised in the San Francisco Bay area, he was an avid outdoorsman with lots of gear.

He launched the new company with some of his own capital and investments from VF Corp., Baselayer Ventures and Accelerator Ventures.

Prior to partnering with Dick’s Sporting Goods earlier this year, Out&Back worked exclusively online with customers who went to the company’s website and received cash offers on goods less than 10 years old via Venmo or PayPal. Once an offer was made, Out&Back paid for the shipping, which was handled through the US Post Office.

But this is where it got sticky. Many people said they would pack and ship their goods, but often they didn’t make it to the post office. “It was like pulling teeth,” Ben-Zekry said, noting that the shipping abandonment rate was around 30 to 40 percent to begin with. “Through messaging and more customer communication, it’s gotten a lot lower.”

This supply side of the Out&Back business model is critical to success. “There is no factory here,” said Ben-Zekry. “I can call and order things that are no longer needed. We spent a lot of time focusing on our offering and acquiring vendors. And that’s what led us to Dick’s.”

When people discovered they could drop off merchandise at the sporting goods store, it became easier for customers and abandonment dropped significantly. Using a physical drop-off point also opened up new categories that could be bought and resold, like tents, backpacks, and now skis and snowboards (without bindings). Dick’s will ship the used items to Out&Back’s Denver warehouse.

For Dick’s, the largest sporting goods chain in the US, the partnership means getting more customers through the door and helping the environment.

“Working with Out&Back to empower people to explore the great outdoors while reducing our environmental footprint is a win-win,” Peter Land, Dick’s chief sustainability officer, previously told WWD.

Out&Back relies on the Internet to determine the amount it pays for used goods, which typically sell for 10 to 35 percent of the original retail price. Age and condition are two other factors to consider.

“By and large, we are a technology company,” said the company’s founder. “We have a network that is constantly scanning the internet and looking up what prices have been sold on goods in the outdoor category for the last 10 years. For this reason we do not accept items older than 10 years as they do not have a paper trail. If it wasn’t sold online, we don’t know about it.”

He said backpacks and tents have tremendous value, especially when they are well constructed and made from quality materials. Popular outdoor gear and apparel brands include Osprey, Patagonia, Marmot, The North Face, Pendleton, and Arc’teryx.

Goods sold online to Out&Back end up in its 10,000 square foot warehouse. With almost 20 employees, the company accepts used clothing and other purchased goods, checks them and cleans and repairs them if necessary. Once this is done a photo will be taken for the website.

Ben-Zekry couldn’t estimate how many items are currently in the company’s inventory, but he said there are typically 1,500 to 2,000 items on the site at a time. But things are growing. Ben-Zekry is now looking for a larger warehouse to handle the number of items the company buys and sells.

https://wwd.com/sustainability/environment/dicks-sporting-goods-outampback-outdoor-resell-platform-partnership-1235350583/ Dick’s Sporting Goods and Out&Back Outdoor Expand Partnership – WWD

Sarah Y. Kim

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