Recommerce is on the rise as retail locations struggle to attract customers after the pandemic, they are running short of backroom storage space while dealing with a rising tide of returned items. The situation is even more challenging for e-commerce companies, where returns accounted for $761 billion in lost revenue, the National Retail Federation recently reported. Meet Marcus Shen, CEO of San Mateo, CA-based B-Stock Solutions, an online marketplace for businesses that want to resell excess inventory. From the top 10 U.S. retailers, such as Walmart, Amazon, GameStop, and Costco, to small entrepreneurs looking to fill their shelves, businesses around the world use B-Stock to sell and buy returned and unsold merchandise, which is auctioned off or sold directly from the retailers’ distribution center at a fraction of the retail price.

Marcus Shen, CEO of B-Stock Solutions
Marcus Shen, CEO of B-Stock Solutions, is our guest on Sustainability in Your Ear.

A mind-boggling 21% of online purchases were returned during the 2021 holiday season — which suggests that the cost of returns at Amazon, which does not disclose its return volume, could have reached more than $98 billion in 2021. About a third of the items returned are burned to generate energy, which is the epitome of wastefulness and a symptom of very short-sighted thinking. Add to the idea that useful returned products are burned the carbon footprint of a return trip from the buyer’s home, and you can see how returns can almost double or more the environmental impact of a purchase. In the face of a rising tide of returned and excess inventory, giving those products a second chance at a useful life is critical to lowering the GHG emissions generated by our economy. Explore the crooked path of “reverse-logistics” and how the secondary market can help create a more circular economy.

To learn more about B-Stock and, if you are looking to start a small retail or e-commerce business, shop the excess inventory, visit

By Mitch Ratcliffe

Mitch is the publisher at and Director of Digital Strategy and Innovation at Intentional Futures, an insight-to-impact consultancy in Seattle. A veteran tech journalist, Mitch is passionate about helping people understand sustainability and the impact of their decisions on the planet.