With little fanfare Apple has just implemented a plan that is not likely to be copied by a competitor any time soon. Apple’s product migration pricing is among the best of any tech gadget company in the world. Whether it’s Mac, iPhone, or iPad, each product is spaced perfectly in the lineup; $100 more you can get more. $100 gets you even more. Regardless of what you buy from Apple you’re likely to pay a premium price compared to lesser brands.
One way Apple plans to avoid lowering prices or having sale prices or discounts is with the newly instituted trade-in program. A select line of Android, Windows Phone, and even BlackBerry models can be traded in to help purchase a new iPhone (iPhone 5c, iPhone 6, or iPhone 6 Plus).
This trade-in program is different than Apple’s iPhone Reuse and Recycle trade-in program from a couple of years ago. The new trade-in program is available so far in the U.S. UK, Germany, France, Canada, and Italy.
Why a trade-in program?
Much of retail sales is about perceived value. As a premium brand, Apple’s products carry a special value. That’s why Apple products are seldom discounted and seldom go on sale (I cannot remember anything ‘sale’ related other than refurbished products).
In most cases, owners of competitive smartphone brands paid far less for their devices, even with a contract tied to a cell phone carrier, than an iPhone. Almost any amount that Apple can offer as a trade-in makes it easy for those smartphone owners to switch to an iPhone, and take their first step into the Apple ecosystem.
Think about the process for a moment.
Let’s say a Samsung Galaxy S4 owner decided to check out the Apple trade-in program. He or she likely bought the phone with a contract tied to a carrier (probably expired or expiring soon), so the in-store retail experience was nominal if not downright negative. The Apple Store experience is quite different. Bring in the old phone, get a price valuation on the spot, use that amount to buy an iPhone, then receive Apple’s famous service and setup, and out the door; a happy new Apple customer.
Who else among Apple’s many mobile device competitors can implement such a program?
All of them; certainly most of the major device makers. Used iPhones command far higher prices than used Samsung, Motorola, HTC, Lenovo, or other brands, so taking an iPhone in on trade is doable, but not simple. The problem? Only Apple has hundreds of retail stores which can gently ease a customer into the ecosystem; show off the value of an iPhone, discuss the various models, get an appraisal on a competing model, use the trade-in to purchase a new iPhone.
Can a customer with a non-iPhone get more money selling to Gazelle or eBay? Probably. But there’s a hassle involved and Apple just removed that little barrier. What we don’t know and won’t know for awhile is how much Apple gives for a trade-in; say, a Samsung Galaxy S4 or S5.
Regardless, Apple just made it easier for owners of competing smartphones to switch.