Some people use the means available to them to sell used iPhones. Others, like Bruno Wong, dissatisfied with the status quo, create their own.
Orchard is the product of necessity, a system for selling used iPhones that ensures the device is working properly, has not been reported stolen, and ensures the seller’s integrity. A combination app and service, Wong, a former PR rep, teamed up with a couple of friends to make it easy to sell used iPhones (and soon iPads) at the market value.
For sellers, Orchard provides a diagnostic app that generates a profile of the phone’s condition checked against a number of criteria. Users go through a series of tests to ensure that the volume buttons, power button, headphone jack, home button and cameras work as expected, and then self-diagnose any addition issues like wear to the case and screen. Based on this report, along with the IMEI to determine the SKU, storage size and manufacturing date, Orchard generates a Fair Market Value, a price checked against popular online classifieds like Craigslist and Kijiji. The app also checks the IMEI number against the CWTA’s active stolen cellphone database, so potential buyers know that they’re not only getting a working product but an active one.
The seller then has three ways to sell the iPhone: without Orchard’s help, so he or she can use the free diagnostic report to go to Craiglist, Kijiji or Redflagdeals; with Orchard’s help, which posts the phone in a clean, beautiful listing on the company’s buyer site, for which they keep 12% of the transaction; and by consignment, through which Orchard buys the phone for the Full Market Value and, once sold, gives the seller 65% of the final price.
While the company is beginning with just iPhones, due to their high resale value and relatively simple diagnostic process, they’re looking to expand to other platforms soon. iPads are the next logical step, but Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry and other smart products are in the cards.
“The grand vision for Orchard is to be the solution for selling smart mobile devices,” says Wong. “We do all the grind work to make it easy for the seller and so the buyer has all the right information.” He acknowledges that it’s possible for sellers to lie about the condition of their phones — say, misrepresent a large scratch or other internal damage — but Orchard will honour the sale for 30 days and refund the buyer, banning the seller in the process.
The company has closed its first seed round and is looking for investors, but doesn’t want to grow too quickly. Orchard is going through a series of soft launches “until it’s clean,” says Wong, who believes there is a huge market for such a service.
“The used iPhone market in the US is a $14 billion a year business. We’re just getting started.”