Conversely, customers told us that a charitable donation was the most unattractive option on the incentive list. Interestingly, charitable donations are often promoted by the carriers and other recyclers as a key motivator to recycle. Another unattractive incentive was “instant gift card provided by the carrier at the store” (medium value). (Note: this option is the main incentive for two of the largest carriers in the mobile industry.) Other enticements used by carriers such as credit on your bill (medium value) or a one-time in store credit (medium value) received a bit more than a tepid review from the survey panel.
Carriers, retailers and other recommerce vendors may want to experiment with a variety of incentives as this is the main driver for a successful buy back or trade-in program. Some of the OEMs do promotions on equipment (HTC offered their UrBeats headset during a trade-up promotion last year) and others companies like e-Cycle which opted for prizes via contests if the customer recycles or Sprint, which offered a special iPhone promotion last year.
It is important to remember that as customers pay more for devices (subsidy reductions/elimination) and have more trade in options, they may: 1)take better care of their devices 2)trade in a device in better condition than ever before and 3) be more aware of their worth and expect better incentives.
Finally, if the industry players can get this aspect of the process right, perhaps device recycling and buy back programs will gain traction and make a positive impact on the environment (i.e., proper e-waste disposal and recycling of key minerals and components) and also allow the carriers and others to establish a more robust inventory of pre-owned and reused devices which may eventually have a real impact on their bottom line.
About the author
Kate Pearce is a Sr. Consultant and Research Strategist at Compass Intelligence. She has a long tenure in the wireless industry, working in corporate strategy, business planning and product development groups at a major telecom provider for nearly 15 years and as a consultant for two years. If you want to contact Kate to find out more about the Reuse and Recycling market, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.