Rise of the Mobile Secondary Market

The mobile secondary market is booming: last year it was estimated at $17 billion and that number is expected to grow substantially in 2017. Manufacturers annually upgrading their phones and the exponential growth of trade-in programs have played the biggest role in that growth. In 2014, we successfully launched our first mobile device marketplace for a Fortune 500 consumer electronics retailer. Currently, mobile is B-Stock’s highest grossing product category and continues to grow. We like to think that we’re a thought leader when it comes to used devices and the secondary market! Read on for a look at how one of the first cell phone buyback programs began and how B-Stock played a role.

It began with trade-in video game inventory: customers could trade in old games for store credit. After experiencing success with this program, the retailer figured there would be demand for other electronic devices as well, most notably mobile phones. This was before carriers offered trade in options: in 2013, people bought a phone for cheap and then just saved it after the two year contract. Seeing a good opportunity to expand its buyback business, the retailer came up with a campaign where consumers could trade in a phone for approximately $100 in store credit (a lot of money when compared to getting a couple bucks for a used game). This campaign appealed directly to the retailer’s core audience who loved the idea of getting a couple of brand new games simply by trading in a phone they didn’t use anymore. Soon, people were returning iPhones, iTouch, tablets, and the market quickly exploded.

To round out its mobile phone liquidation strategy, a multichannel disposition model was put in place for the inventory: some of it was sold back in stores, some went to partner programs and some items were sold in bulk on B2B channels—including via B-Stock’s web-based platform, which allowed the retailer to move large volumes of devices quickly and at a high rate of recovery.

The rest is history. We are currently operating 10+ B2B marketplaces for trade-in and excess devices from the nation’s largest mobile carriers as well as the nation’s largest buyback programs. In addition to providing a direct sales channel between the retailer and secondary market buyer, we are also working to establish certification and conditioning programs to help create a more consistent market experience.

Holiday returns are on the horizon, learn how to better tackle them by attending our November webinar.
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