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Feedback on idea needed. Rebranding and going for the message

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Strider

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Apr 10, 2016
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Was talking to a friend that has a computer building business about joining in, we talked and talked. He already got a few thousand from it, around 30 pcs built and sold online.

We were trying to figure out where to go from next, expanding the business and my skills are more related to development and being social/popular/public relations, so I was looking into more of a brand and website, and we eventually thought about selling second hand phones as a good idea and alternative. We thought there was no one doing it properly but after searching a bit we found a guy, our age, with a business like what we were considering importing phones online and selling them seconded handed.

The guy is growing (from the news we found 100k last year and apparently opening a physical outdoor place) and we'd be crushed trying to do the same from 0.

But we thought we had something good there, the brand idea (the guy is literally selling it as a second hand mobile shop), so we started rethinking it. We thought about a similar business that sells those seconded handed phones but in a more "personal" way, with nice boxes and with a few good accessories in it (for a bit better price), creating a way better experience (the guy literally sells them in a plastic bag) of buying a phone.

We would initially focus on box "sexyness" and use various social media strategies to get the word out, making it something that feels "unique", probably selling it to young women. Then around different festivities we'd use different boxes (christmas is coming per example, and buying just a phone in plastic isn't personal enough), that way we would try to get some base costumer and talking.

After the first sales we launch our official commerce website. Still selling the whole package as well, but also just the accessories and phones separated, always with a minimal package to mark the difference.

Our brand would go in the usual simplicity, originally more towards sexyness and then adapting each package towards whatever festivity was coming.

What do you guys think?
 

sparechange

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Buying second hand electronics online doesn't sit to well with me, and for that reason I'm out #sharktank. Getting second hand items and reselling them, would your margins even be high enough? I personally don't think it's worth the efforts and energy
 

sparechange

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Also a lot of phone sales are done from kijji Craigslist and fb, when I got my phone I looked up kijji went to the persons house and bought it
 

raddevon

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We would initially focus on box "sexyness" and use various social media strategies to get the word out, making it something that feels "unique", probably selling it to young women. Then around different festivities we'd use different boxes (christmas is coming per example, and buying just a phone in plastic isn't personal enough), that way we would try to get some base costumer and talking.
My hunch is the person who wants a pre-owned phone will care more about saving money than about a sexy box. The only way to know though is to talk to them. Just make sure you're careful in how you approach the people you're talking to. If you go to them with you idea and say, "What do you think?" almost everyone you ask is going to say it sounds like a great idea. Unfortunately, you don't know anything more than you knew before.

Here are two questions to get the ball rolling:
  • Have you ever bought a used phone?
  • (If yes) What was the worst part of the experience?
If your idea is a good one, the answers to your second question should lead directly into your idea. I'd want the answers to be like these:
  • It came in a gross plastic bag.
  • I had to meet a guy in the parking lot of a gas station to buy it.
  • The phone was dirty when I got it.
  • It didn't have a car charger included.
If the answers don't confirm your idea is a good one, they may give you some alternate directions to go instead. Whatever you do, don't tell them about your idea. If it's a good one, they will get to it without your help.

The only way you can ask people directly about your idea is if you ask for the sale right then and there. If you want to start taking pre-orders, that's the best validation you can get. I don't think you're quite there yet though.

If you end up getting some feedback, post it back here. I'd be interested to hear how it goes.
 

Strider

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Apr 10, 2016
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South Europe
Buying second hand electronics online doesn't sit to well with me, and for that reason I'm out #sharktank. Getting second hand items and reselling them, would your margins even be high enough? I personally don't think it's worth the efforts and energy

The margins come from buying in bulk in China, that's basically how we deduced that he was doing too, otherwise such a big profit would be impossible.
Also, my country is not poor per se but is in Europe South so poor Economic stability, it's not so easy to buy big phones out of the blue so most people go for second hand stuff when they just want to change or cheap chinese alternatives.

My hunch is the person who wants a pre-owned phone will care more about saving money than about a sexy box. The only way to know though is to talk to them. Just make sure you're careful in how you approach the people you're talking to. If you go to them with you idea and say, "What do you think?" almost everyone you ask is going to say it sounds like a great idea. Unfortunately, you don't know anything more than you knew before.

Here are two questions to get the ball rolling:
  • Have you ever bought a used phone?
  • (If yes) What was the worst part of the experience?
If your idea is a good one, the answers to your second question should lead directly into your idea. I'd want the answers to be like these:
  • It came in a gross plastic bag.
  • I had to meet a guy in the parking lot of a gas station to buy it.
  • The phone was dirty when I got it.
  • It didn't have a car charger included.
If the answers don't confirm your idea is a good one, they may give you some alternate directions to go instead. Whatever you do, don't tell them about your idea. If it's a good one, they will get to it without your help.

The only way you can ask people directly about your idea is if you ask for the sale right then and there. If you want to start taking pre-orders, that's the best validation you can get. I don't think you're quite there yet though.

If you end up getting some feedback, post it back here. I'd be interested to hear how it goes.

Hey, thanks a ton for the good idea. I'm thinking on launching a landing page that allows pre-orders as well. I understand the worry about not being the same kind of target, and that's where my biggest doubt lies.

I'll ask around,the reasons we thought about this were that since my country is not the richest, people wouldn't mind having to pay less for a full pretty packaged alternative tested by us, at least in the holidays, would you prefer to give a plastic bag with a phone or a this alternative to your family? Then the plan would be to launch the website after the first wave of sales ---> This is why I think preordering might be a nice idea that fits the plan.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Also, my country is not poor per se but is in Europe South so poor Economic stability,

Wouldn't work here (IMO) but in a country with a lower per-capita and economic system, it might. I don't think a sexy box will change anything. This is a commodity space so all things held equal (same phone model), best price takes all.
 

Laughingman21

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I doubt the second hand market will care about a sexy box. You'll need to compete on price for a huge percentage of your business which will hit margins.

You could flip it on its head and focus on buying the phones cheaply from consumers who want to upgrade. Offer them something that makes them happy to accept a lower price. E.g.
  • Guarantee it'll be securely wiped of personal data
  • Off a convenient way of collect the phone e.g. Prepaid envelope in post
  • Fast and secure payment
  • Clear pricing when buying phones
  • Good FAQs on website
 

Steve F

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The only way to know though is to talk to them

Bingo. who can say? I bought a second hand phone for my business. I run refurb laptops.

The real questions are:
  • who is your market?
  • where do they hang out?
  • how can you get soft proof for your idea?
 

Strider

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I'm thinking on running a few googleforms about recycled electronics and throw them on a few groups. Thing is from what we've talked we'd try this way to make it something different and the brand but after the first sells we'd make the website available and there people could just buy the phone (with minimal but existant packaging)
 

raddevon

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I'll ask around,the reasons we thought about this were that since my country is not the richest, people wouldn't mind having to pay less for a full pretty packaged alternative tested by us, at least in the holidays, would you prefer to give a plastic bag with a phone or a this alternative to your family? Then the plan would be to launch the website after the first wave of sales ---> This is why I think preordering might be a nice idea that fits the plan.
My hunch may be way off in your country. Preoders will be helpful no matter where you are though.

My one reservation: are pre-orders practical for you since you're dealing in second-hand phones? Didn't even think about this when I suggested it. My only worry is that you won't know what stock you will have to pre-sell. Maybe there are some very common phones you can pre-sell because you know the secondary market is full of them?
 

Steve F

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I'm thinking on running a few googleforms about recycled electronics and throw them on a few groups. Thing is from what we've talked we'd try this way to make it something different and the brand but after the first sells we'd make the website available and there people could just buy the phone (with minimal but existant packaging)

Hm, I wish I thought that would work. I hate to say it, because I know this will apply to me too, but I'll bet you're going to have talk to real, live, living , breathing people to validate your idea.

However, there are ways to do that; can you think of a way to get examples of your product in front of prospects? What about the owners of little cell-phone shops in malls? Would they be interested in the idea?
 

Bottomsouth

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Jan 1, 2017
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Was talking to a friend that has a computer building business about joining in, we talked and talked. He already got a few thousand from it, around 30 pcs built and sold online.

We were trying to figure out where to go from next, expanding the business and my skills are more related to development and being social/popular/public relations, so I was looking into more of a brand and website,

Your first idea was the best one.
 

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