Rewind to five years ago, and the average consumer knew very little about trading in old electronics for store gift cards or cash value. Fast-forward to now: times have changed. The average shopper today is more educated about their purchases than ever before, and trade-in has become a critical tool available to help them get the most value when buying new products.
Although trade-in programs have long been focused on mobile technology, smart retailers are now learning that informed customers value the ability to trade in beyond phones. The new behavior of asking, “how much is the old one worth” before buying a new product is growing in popularity. Therefore, by adding a variety of devices to current trade-in programs, retailers can open the door to increased traffic, improved customer loyalty and more in-store spending.
Here are three untapped customer types not-so-patiently waiting to trade in more than old phones.
1. Return on investment-minded homeowners feathering their nests: Many consumers use trade-in programs to upgrade their home amenities and offset the cost of improvements like new appliances. Sometimes, these upgrades are designed to help make a home more energy efficient. By trading in outmoded, less-efficient refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines and other appliances for ENERGY-STAR-certified replacements, not only do homeowners enjoy long-term energy savings over the life of the appliance, they get a rebate from the U.S. Department of Energy, too.
Offered by many major brick-and-mortar and online retailers, appliance trade-in programs can also help homeowners make ROI-informed property upgrades before listing their home for sale, or try out-of-the-box smart home technologies like Whirlpool’s interactive cooktops at a lower price.
2. Business owners eyeing the bottom line: Trade-in programs are a boon to business owners eager to boost their bottom line. Trading out-of-date devices for a reduced price on newer models just makes sense.
Corporations that employ a large number of staff and supply a large number of devices have long embraced trade-in programs to keep employee’s technology up to date. However, in addition to managing the cycle of smartphone upgrades, IT managers are now also brokering trade-ins for individually issued devices like company tablets and shared resources like digital printers.
Industry-specific trade-in programs are also valuable for cost-conscious business owners. Tools, for example, are an expensive yet critical cost of business for construction companies. To help diffuse this cost, big brands will sometimes help incentivize trade-in programs to drive sales. For example, last year NAPA Auto Parts teamed with DeWALT for a trade-in program that encouraged customers to bring in their old cordless drills (complete with bits and batteries) to receive an instant trade-in rebate of as much as $100. Customers could then apply that rebate toward the purchase of new tools like grinders, high-speed polishers and cordless impact wrenches.
3. Early adopters seeking the best of everything — not just phones: Tech trailblazers want the best device on the market, and they want it before all their friends. This drive to be the ultimate “alpha user” comes at a cost, however. Trade-in programs are big in the smartphone vertical for this very reason: they allow trend hounds to score the best new devices out of the gate, but soften the blow by offering credit for their castoffs.
Market-driving product releases like the Apple Watch have made smartwatches a big trade-in target. For example, customers looking to fund a preorder for the new Apple Watch, or simply earn cash for an unwanted smartwatch, can get paid upwards of $100, dependent on model and condition.
This creates a win-win consumer cycle. As early adopter’s “starter smartwatches” are traded in, their first-gen devices like Samsung Gear 2, Samsung Galaxy Gear, Sony Smartwatch, Pebble and Motorola Moto 360s become hot commodities that provide the opportunity for new users to give smartwatches a try at a lower price point.
Other devices primed for trade-in potential include portable speakers and action cameras. Music aficionados are passionate about good sound, and trade-in programs allow consumers to satisfy their search for the best portable speakers. Likewise, rapid advancements in the quality and durability of action cameras have led to growing demand for trade-in programs for devices like GoPro Hero.
Whether it's a device to fill a niche interest or simply the next must-have item on the market, accepting a diverse range of technology devices for trade-in helps cultivate repeat customers within the hot early adopter segment.
In short, think outside the traditional smartphone box. Get creative with trade-in programs, and help your customers tap into even more tradable value.
Jeff Trachsel is chief marketing officer of NextWorth Solutions, an electronics trade-in and recycling service.
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