The Art of Reverse Commerce: Selling Your Old Gadgets Online

The Art of Reverse Commerce: Selling Your Old Gadgets Online

The increased boom in consumer technology over the past few years has given rise to the growth of countless auxiliary industries. For every laptop and iPhone out there, there is a tech start-up operating out of a building somewhere developing apps for those devices, offering instruction on how to use them, repurposing them for new functions, scrapping them for parts, etc. One of the most successful industries to come out of the tech boom has been gadget re-commerce (aka “reverse commerce”), in which customers send in old computers, phones, or other tech gadgets and receive cash compensation for their contributions. The service-providers then recycle the gadgets or re-introduce them back into the secondhand market for profit.

Of all the companies that have come out of this business, Gazelle.com has proven one of the most successful. Much of this success derives from Gazelle’s simplified approach: the site calculates what devices are worth according to make, model, and condition, and then it makes potential customers an offer. If agreeable, customers then simply send in their gadgets and receive the payment via check or PayPal. Customers need not pay shipping or packaging fees (these are covered by Gazelle), nor are they obligated to perform any maintenance prior to shipping. Still, it pays to be thorough, and if you’re considering using Gazelle or another re-commercing site to sell off your old tech items, here are a few useful tips before jumping the gun:

1. Find out as much as you can about your gadgets. Before hawking your items online, make sure you’re intricately informed about what exactly those items are. In addition to make, model, and condition, get informed about the more technical aspects of your gadgets for a clearer picture of what it’s worth on the market. What are all the functions of the item in question? What operating system does it use? If it’s a laptop, what kind of hard drive does it have installed? These are the kind of details you want to be intimately familiar with before looking to sell.

2. Cross-reference listing prices for your used items. Although Gazelle and many other sites calculate what your devices are worth for you, it’s obviously a good idea to look around before selling to see what kinds of values gadgets like yours typically fetch. Check websites like Amazon, Craigslist, and eBay to determine the price your device might sell for. Once you get a feel for how much you can reasonably expect to receive, you can more easily evaluate whether the offer you get is worth cashing in on.

3. Keep your items in good condition. It’s always a good idea to be as careful with tech gadgets as possible, but when it comes to selling used items online, condition is everything. Appearance is important; before shipping, make sure the surfaces of your items are spick and span. If there are any noticeable dents or cracks on your gadgets, be aware that these could heavily compromise the amount you might receive for them. Protect your potential merchandise. Keep everything covered and in cases whenever possible. Additionally, functionality for laptops and smart phones can be significantly improved by deleting cookies and/or saved internal memory. Before sending off your items, try to delete as much as possible. You want your gadgets as close to factory condition as possible.