Benefits of ReCommerce Extend Throughout Supply Chain

“ReCommerce” is a tech-age example of the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” The basic premise of reCommerce is that even when a gadget has lost its value to its owner, there is someone else out there who would still find it valuable and be willing to pay for it.

As spotlighted in a recent New York Times article, the benefits of reCommerce extend to both buyers and sellers as well as the environment and economy as a whole. With reCommerce, the original owner sells the used gadget to a second party, who then resells the device or its parts to a third party. This is a growing ecommerce trend due in part to the constant release of new smartphones and electronic gadgets from popular manufacturers like Apple, Samsung, LG, and HTC.

Gadgets Have a Longer Lifespan Than the Commercial Product Cycle

The product cycle of gadgets, particularly high-end smartphones and tablets, is becoming increasingly short, with tech-savvy gadget owners eager to get their hands on the latest phone model even if their previous one still works perfectly well. The lure of a slimmer design, higher-resolution display, or just the distinction of owning the latest model moves many consumers into this short product cycle, but the life-span of the typical gadget is a good many years longer than it is actively used.

On average, smartphones are used for two years before being replaced, with mobile carriers encouraging frequent phone upgrades in their packages; but today’s smartphones are functional for much longer. This trend is extremely taxing on the environment and on users’ wallets because old models are typically left idle in desk drawers or, worse, in landfills, where they remain as non-biodegradable waste.

This is where the benefits of reCommerce kick in. Selling an old phone is not a new idea—it has been done on eBay for years—but even so, only a quarter of smartphone owners will do it. Trade-in businesses now make this process much easier: They will buy a used phone, refurbish it, and resell it (or, if it truly is past its prime, recycle it responsibly), all with minimal hassle for the customer.

ReCommerce: A Growing Industry

Another factor fueling the rise of reCommerce is the surging demand in Asia for affordable smartphones. This has resulted in the emergence of a successful reCommerce industry led by companies like Gazelle, one of the oldest and largest services that allows users to trade in old phones for cash.

As demand for smartphones outpaces supply, older-model phones from the U.S. are finding a market in the developing world, where they hold higher value. “One thing I’ve learned in this business is that everything has value—everything, even broken devices, which we use for parts,” Israel Ganot, Gazelle’s chief executive officer, told The New York Times.

Established reCommerce platforms like Gazelle check used phones against a database of lost and stolen devices. Most smartphones have the ability to back up personal data like pictures in the cloud and easily delete personal information to allow for a safer and more secure reCommerce experience for buyers and sellers alike.

Have you considered reCommerce for your older phones?

Image courtesy of Flickr