Reuse instead of landfill
Momox, Germany’s largest recommerce company, has its main warehouse facilities in Leipzig. It buys and sells second-hand books, CDs, electronic items and clothing.
The larger of Momox’s two storage and distribution centres occupies a 40,000-square-metre site opposite Leipzig’s new exhibition complex. All the items bought by the company are delivered here, examined and then stored away in the long rows of shelves. Books, CDs and computer games are also despatched to customers from here. The original Momox warehouse in Neuenhagen, Brandenburg, was only half as big, and in December 2011 finally became too small for Christian Wegner’s company, which he established in Berlin in 2006 with only EUR 1,500 of start-up capital. Originally operating as a one-man enterprise for buying and selling second-hand CDs over the Internet, the business has now grown into a company employing 750 people, many of whom work at the Leipzig site. “Unlike our competitors, Momox doesn’t rely on temporary staff,” says Heiner Kroke, who took over from Christian Wegner as CEO of the company in March 2013.
In tune with the spirit of the age
The 45-year-old has plans for the company to continue expanding. It’s no longer restricted to CDs, although buying them on www.momox.de and selling them on www.medimops.de is still a very important part of the business. The range was expanded to include second-hand books a long time ago and these now account for around 50 per cent of the company’s EUR 60 million annual turnover. “Sales of new books may be declining,” says Kroke, “but for us the second-hand market has been booming for years.” The remaining revenue is generated from DVDs, computer games, brand name clothing and electronics. Momox is primarily interested in products that are being replaced by new formats or other innovations without disappearing completely from the market – such as CDs and printed books.
Buying and selling globally
A second-hand platform dedicated mainly to clothing went live in February 2014 at www.ubup.com, where over 80,000 items are available to buy. Although items are now also bought from Austria, the UK and France – and then sold as far afield as America with the help of Amazon – Kroke believes the sector is still in its infancy. Momox is popular because its customers want to get rid of their items with as little fuss as possible, at guaranteed prices that are communicated online before the goods are posted. If the items are worth at least EUR 10, Momox will also cover the cost of delivery to Leipzig. Items are checked on receipt for compliance with the requirements listed on the website, and customers then receive payment directly into their bank account. There’s no easier way to clear out your attic or cellar. For many sellers, the main motive is not how much money they can make, but ensuring usable items are saved from ending up in landfill.