16. December 2011 19:48
Last month my team did rankings on cell phone Buyback programs across the top four wireless providers...
The net-net of the research is that Sprint has the highest-ranked buyback program in the industry according to our research results. It comes down to three things: easy, valuable and important to be a leader in this space (in this order).
- The reason Sprint ranks so high because it makes it so easy for customers to trade-in devices in any Sprint-owned or dealer store. They get instant in-store credit (the only carrier to date to offer this) and don't have to worry with shipping in devices by mail - easy.
- Trade-in values on hot devices are rising across the industry, including at top-rated Sprint. Sprint customers can trade in an old iPhone (or any phone regardless of carrier) and get up to $275. This provides a huge incentive to trade in used devices when making that next cell phone purchase - valuable.
- Being "green" is also important (see below) and Sprint has definitely got a focus on the environment. I’m not surprised they continue to rank so high on Newsweek's Green Rankings - coming in this year at #3 - important.
We surveyed more than 900 wireless customers online and 150 via mall intercepts. Of those surveyed online, 300 completed a trade-in in the last 6 months. As you can see from the data below - "easy," "valuable" and "important" resonate as reasons to trade-in cell phones...
I have gotten pretty excited about trade-in programs and wireless device recycling in general because I see the need to
1. Improve re-use of the raw materials needed for creating new devices (particularly heavy metals and specialized materials in batteries)
2. Increase market segmentation by driving refurb device availability (the more devices that are traded in, the more inventory of refurbs) and the more people that can afford smartphones (without the subsidy burden on the carrier).
In short - Buyback programs are critical to the long-term health of the industry - hats off to Sprint for being ranked #1 in this category last month. We'll be introducing some new research in this area next year, so keep an eye out in 1Q12.
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