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Disrupting the iPhone resale market

iPhone resale

As is the case with many startups, Orchard was born of dissatisfaction. Just after the launch of the iPhone 5, Orchard co-founder Bruno was looking to sell his 4S to cover the cost of an upgrade. A quick visit to Craigslist and Kijiji revealed a confusing and time-consuming selling process. He was so dissatisfied with their ‘product’ that he ultimately didn’t even sell his phone. Instead, he founded Orchard – the better iPhone resale market.

The first step in starting any company is to research the competitive landscape. We had a good look at every iPhone selling solution out there. Our conclusion? They all lack inspiration: the existing selling solutions simply are not working hard enough to deliver value to us common folk.

After careful consideration, we realized that all of the businesses in the iPhone resale market are forcing customers to trade off between ease of use and the value that they receive for their iPhone. Considering the market in this context, two distinct groups emerge: there are the marketplaces, and the businesses that we lovingly refer to as the liquidators. These companies and their value propositions are illustrated below for readers who prefer that sort of thing.

 iPhone resale


The marketplaces (Kijiji and Craigslist) provide a forum for buyers and sellers to meet – that’s it. It is up to a seller to figure out a fair price for their phone, what to mention in a listing, which of the responses come from an honest person, and how to set up a safe transaction. Ugh. To marketplaces’ credit though, a savvy seller can run this gauntlet and end up getting their device’s full value.

Simply put, marketplaces are a pain to figure out, but if you’re smart and you invest the time, you can earn top dollar for your iPhone.

On the other end of the spectrum are the liquidators (Gazelle,, etc). These companies emphasize simplicity: their websites are very easy to navigate, they send you a prepaid shipping box for your device, and end-to-end, it takes maybe 15 or 20 minutes (spread over a few days) to sell your device. Pretty good, right? Well, there’s a catch: the cost of this handholding is typically on the range of $100-$150 relative to what you would receive selling on a marketplace.

Put differently, the liquidators make selling your iPhone easy, but you pay a huge fee for the convenience.

At the end of this analysis, it was pretty clear to us that there was an opportunity for a new business to disrupt this market by delivering both simplicity and value to iPhone sellers. So we set out to do just that (visualized in the chart below). We are confident that our app-based testing, valuation, and listing service delivers on this goal.

iPhone resale

If our service sounds appealing, head over to the Orchard website to sell or buy a used iPhone! Alternatively, let us know what you think of our analysis in the comments, or tell us what other topics you’d like to hear us comment on.

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