Case Study: Drop Off Profit
311 Lexington Avenue, a retail space about the size of a modest dry cleaning operation in New York City, used to be a Sprint store. Today it's a place where people drop off their old cell phones...as well as their first digital cameras, outmoded flatpanels, laptops, PDAs and two-year-old iPods. Not a recycling organization or a charity, the 300-square-foot shop has been reincarnated as a franchise called iSold It, a service that helps customers sell consumer electronics (as well as musical instruments, Hummel figurines, and aborted-engagement rings among other items) on eBay.
“You’d be amazed at how much you can get for a used Treo,” said Joe Arlia, the owner of two iSold It stores in New York. “A Treo 600 goes for around $100. A 650, you can get for $150-to-$200. Smart phones do really well.”
In an age when CE products have increasingly short life spans and consumers are getting more comfortable upgrading almost all their personal electronics regularly, the concept of re-sale, as opposed to collecting old handsets in the back of dresser drawers, is just beginning to catch on with the public. Retailers have always looked for creative ways to liquidate unsold, returned or broken inventory. But only in the last few years have they turned toward online auction channels such as eBay or uBid. A number of enterprises have sprung up to facilitate C to C sales as well as B to C on these auction sites. iSold It, a national franchise with 180 locations across the U.S., is currently one of the largest.