Strategies: The Retail Connection
By Conrad Melancon
If you are looking for the best place to collect old cell phones, what could be a better strategy than to work with the stores that sell them? There are now 208 million cell phone users in the United States and statistics show they change phones on average every 18 months. This means that somewhere in the neighborhood of 140 million cell phones get replaced every year!
Remember, cell phone stores are much more concerned about selling phones than they are about recycling them, so you will need to stay in contact with the store owner or manager on a regular basis. I recommend establishing a set route and visiting all the stores in that are every couple of weeks. This way you can build a relationship with the retailer, learn what is working and not working with the program, and pass on new collection ideas. Besides, the more often they see you and know you are bringing them money, the happier they will be to see you – I know I would.
In past issues we have discussed different methods and strategies you might employ to aid your cell phone collection drive. I have to tell you that with more than 60,000 retail outlet selling all these new phones - that is where I would concentrate my efforts.
The average cellular phone store does approximately 100-200 new activations or upgrades every month. Just think, each of those transactions represents potential revenue if you can work with the retailer to ask their customers for these phones and then turn them over to you.
Many states have now either enacted or are considering legislation which mandates some form of cell phone recycling and the group they are putting the most pressure on is the retailer. Working with us you can offer them a free recycling service solution which they can implement immediately. Not only do retailers have a need for a comprehensive recycling program it makes sense for them to offer one because many of the phones they collect will still have value. I can’t think of a single person in business who is not interested in making additional money for simply asking their customers for something they are not going to be using anyway.
How does this work?
Show them the money. This works best with independent retailers.
As an experiment, members of our company went around to independent wireless stores in a large metro area and offered cash for the boxes of cell phones they were gathering in the back room and under the counters. By the way, there is such a box in every cell phone store in the country.
They tried two different collection scenarios.
For the first five stores, we calculated the value of the retailers used cell phones based on our price list and wrote a P.O. on the spot with a check to follow. Then, for the next five stores we tried just estimating the value and offering cash on the spot, of course our offer was a lot less, just to be safe. As you can imagine, the cash offer generated a lot more excitement and was a much easier transaction.
When we calculated the value of the cell phones bought for cash we found out we paid at least one third less than we would have if we would have calculated with a price list. In one instance we paid the store owner a crisp $100 bill for $600 worth of cell phones. Granted this is a risky move, and is certainly not recommended for the newbie, but taking a chance now and then can mean a big payoff.
The point of this month’s article is to get creative…look for opportunities…bring value to wireless store owners. Don’t be afraid to ask for their old cell phones; remember you are bringing them a service they need.
Melancon is the President of He
joined the company in November
of 2004 as the Director of
Business Development and assumed
his current position in December
of last year.