Recommerce: An Affordable Way to Trade Up

By Ailien Phan

With technology moving so fast and new devices being released seemingly every week, it is hard for the consumer to justify having the latest and greatest while remaining budget conscious. I personally experienced this after purchasing the iPhone 4 in August and feeling regret when the iPhone 4S was released last week. This constant release of new products can lead to buyer’s remorse for consumers, which can be a major hurdle for companies.

To ease buyer’s remorse, technology companies and retailers are now allowing customers “recommerce” their possessions, a concept that has been around for awhile but has just recently become common for products like cell phones.  The classic model of this idea has been trading in cars. To help add perceived value, motor companies allow you to trade in your used vehicles for money back or discounts on a new car. Companies like AT&T and T-mobile are starting to apply this idea to cell phones by allowing customers to trade in old cell phones for newer models or discounts. AT&T, for example, exchanges trade-ins for a promotional card of value or permits the customer to donate this value to a soldier overseas. Not only does the consumer get to upgrade without the full cost, but the old cell phones are often refurbished and resold or recycled in a proper way. The implications are practical, environmentally friendly, and even philanthropic.

Trading in with the company directly also offers value in the form of convenience. Although there are other marketplaces you can use, dealing with the retailer is a one-stop shop that makes the process easier on busy consumers. Perhaps consumers will be more inclined to buy if they know that they will eventually get some sort of return when they want something better. This concept could translate well into many different industries and products and encourage more spending on the part of budget conscious consumers.

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2 responses to “Recommerce: An Affordable Way to Trade Up

  1. There seems no solution to this problem as there is going to be constant innovation in market. While some companies might also be doing this purposefully to constantly sell to same customers. At the moment, Recommerce seems to be the best possible solution.

  2. When you use the auto industry as the prototype of this concept, it makes sense. But with how rapidly technology is changing, I’m afraid we’re creating a society that will rarely be satisfied with what we have.

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