The wireless industry is on the precipice of something big.
Described recently as ‘the $17 billion dollar industry you’ve never heard of‘, the used smartphone trade-in industry is now being touted by many in the industry, including the International Data Corporation, as a key revenue driver for carriers and retailers looking to combat declining smartphone sales in North America and Europe.
Smartphone trade-in programs have become profitable on a number of fronts. For one, they can be used to acquire and retain customers. They can also open up new and emerging markets through the sale of second hand devices to the developing world; where demand is high for premium devices.
Apple famously reigned in on this space in 2015 launching their very own recycling and trade-in programs in a bid to improve customer acquisition and retention. Since launching, they have continued to push the industry to its limits, announcing only last month that they would be accepting cracked screens, as well as Android and Blackberry devices, in exchange for gift cards to purchase new iPhones and accessories.
However the industry has been surprisingly slow when it comes to embracing smartphone trade-in. Having spent the past 12 months working on the frontlines of the industry, the team here at Inhance has had an excellent opportunity to cast an eye over the prevailing inertia that exists within the industry.
Below are some of our top tips on how your retail or carrier business can embrace this new revenue opportunity.
Achieving Commercial Success In Smartphone Trade-in
Establishing a used smartphone trade-in program within your retail or carrier business comes with its challenges. By overcoming them however, your company can enter a lucrative multi-billion dollar industry.
Here are my four tips for achieving commercial success:
Find the Right Trade-In Partner
Most retailers and carriers realise early on they can’t enter the smartphone trade-in industry alone. It is important to partner with a trade-in specialist who has systems in place to value devices and to manage all related logistics. Spend time researching these partners, ensuring the processes they implement and the protocols they follow (such as how they wipe customer data), suits your business processes. Investigate properly to avoid any disruption to your program further down the line.
Overcome Human Error and other Operational Inefficiencies
Implementation does not happen overnight. Your customer-facing team need to be trained to evaluate age, make and condition of a device before they make an offer to a customer. Unfortunately however, misidentifying a device is an all too common problem. We’ve learnt from companies on both sides of the Atlantic that poor judgement at the counter has led to millions of dollars in losses.
In addition, your point-of-sales system must be updated and be used accordingly. You must also trial the best trade-in valuation system to ensure you get the best return over time. Trial and error is a very costly option. Reduce any margin of error by providing a checklist for sales agents to identify all of these processes can ensure you don’t lose money. At Inhance we have developed an on-device software solution to mitigate against user error and dramatically decrease any variance in prices offered to customers. More on this later.
Ensure ‘Find My iPhone’ Is Turned Off
This point could have been added to the one above, but it’s so significant it deserves a section of its own. Asking if ‘Find My IPhone’ is turned off on a device is a question that should be put to every Apple customer looking to trade-in their device. Ensuring that each customer device has been disconnected from this service is crucial before accepting any Apple device over the counter. However retail stores are busy places and sometimes questions aren’t asked.
By the time the device is being processed for recycling, the customer is long gone and ‘Find my iPhone’ can no longer be disabled. This device can only be broken down and resold as component parts rather than being recycled. At Inhance our solution also caters to this problem.
Market Your Trade-In Program
Like any new program, your customers need to understand the true value of what you’re offering them. How else will you entice them back in-store to trade-in and subsequently trade-up? Marketing is a costly and competitive endeavour – just Google ‘used smartphone trade-In’ and check out the crowded space that emerges. Adword campaigns are expensive and complex, while relying on attracting a customer towards your brand is challenging. Discovering your business’s USP; that ability to really engage and retain your customer base when it comes to used smartphone trade-in isn’t always the easiest thing to figure out. However it most definitely worth the time and effort.
Cashing-In Quickly Using Inhance Trade
At Inhance we believe that trade-in can be used as a powerful lever for both customer acquisition and retention. We’ve developed an end-to-end trade-in product called Inhance Trade that uses on-device diagnostics and analytics to accurately classify and value devices.
Using it, our clients can reach out to their existing customer base by sending them personalised and accurate offers for their smartphones. This offer can be claimed in-store or online, enabling you to upsell call plans, accessories, insurance plans and more.
To find out more about Inhance Trade, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.