top of page

Tech trade-ins for marketing wins

By Emma Dent, Sustainability Lead

In today's fast-paced world, technology evolves rapidly and staying up-to-date can be both a necessity and a challenge for consumers. Trade-in offers give customers the chance to save money on the purchase of new kit while providing a home for unwanted phones, tablets and smartwatches. But for the brands offering trade-in discounts, there’s a unique opportunity to not only generate revenue but also contribute significantly to their sustainability efforts.

The trade-in process is relatively simple for consumers and, depending on the retailer, can be actioned online, at a kiosk or over the counter in-store. Customers will be given a price for their unwanted device that can be redeemed against the purchase of new tech. This will be decided by the make, model and condition of the trade-in item. The possibility of a discount on big-ticket items is a huge draw for customers. This alone as a marketing initiative can drive web or store traffic, giving brands more opportunities to sell.

Positive environmental impacts

But why would companies want to take in scratched-up smartphones and the like? One of the standout advantages of trade-in programmes is the positive impact they have on the environment. Communicating the wider benefits of the practice enhances the company's brand image as being environmentally responsible - something we know that consumers are looking for.

While there’s money to be made in extracting the precious metals and useful components used to make electronic devices, technology trade-in and upgrade programmes extend their benefits beyond material considerations. Firstly, by encouraging customers to surrender their old devices, these businesses actively participate in reducing electronic waste. Used devices often find second and even third lives, providing affordable options for people around the world seeking connectivity for work, education, and social belonging. This positive impact can align with the company's corporate social responsibility goals, fostering a positive image and expanding the reach of its products.

As traded-in devices are given a second life, there's a reduced need for manufacturing new devices, positively impacting the sector’s overall carbon footprint. Using recovered materials from tech that’s reached the end of its life also reduces pressure on raw materials. This aligns with the principles of a circular economy, a concept that focuses on waste reduction and sustainable resource use which is gaining prominence across all sectors.

Quantifiable sustainability benefit

To put the benefits of trade-in schemes into context, companies such as Assurant, exemplify the measurable impact of trade-in and upgrade programmes. As of November 2021, its initiatives have redirected 20,412 metric tons of e-waste from landfills, repurposed 100 million mobile devices and offset CO2 emissions for 5.5 million metric tons. These figures show just how important trade-in offers are for global sustainability.

As consumers increasingly prioritise sustainability, integrating trade-in programmes into marketing becomes a strategic move that not only boosts sales but also establishes a brand as a leader in the pursuit of a greener future. By marketing trade-in programmes, retailers or brands can differentiate themselves in a competitive space, creating a compelling value proposition that goes beyond the initial purchase. This approach not only positions the company as forward-thinking and socially responsible but also opens up avenues for storytelling, enabling the brand to connect with its audience on a deeper, more meaningful level.

Trade-in and upgrade programmes offer a win-win-win strategy for companies, consumers, and the environment. If you need help communicating your sustainability initiatives, drop us an email and we’ll see how we can help you.


bottom of page