Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Walmart announces its own smartphone trade-in program

On Tuesday, Walmart announced a smartphone trade-in program (via ABC News), mirroring the recent one unveiled by Apple and others from such retailers as Best Buy.

Although these programs generally offer less value for the consumer, meaning lower trade-in rates, than third-party and dedicated trade-in sites such as Gazelle and NextWorth, they offer convenience. At Best Buy, Apple, or Walmart, a customer can walk in, trade-in their phone, and walk out with a new device (and a slightly thicker wallet than otherwise).

Walmart's program will launch on Sept. 21 at 3,600 Walmart Stores and 500 Sam's Clubs locations across the country. That's suspicious timing, although perhaps slightly late: It's expected that Apple's iPhone 5C and perhaps its new flagship 5S will reach retail on Sept. 20.

This would seem to be strange timing as the program will launch a day late. Unless, of course, Apple is delaying the iPhone 5C launch to Sept. 27, which is the rumored date of the iPhone 5S retail launch. Rumor has it that a new champagne gold color is delaying the iPhone 5S, slightly.

When asked about the timing of the program, Steve Bratspies, EVP of general merchandise for Walmart U.S said:
We thought it was a good time. We thought it was the right time for the customer perspective and we thought we could deliver a program in the Walmart way: simple for the customer.
As with other programs, to get the trade-in credit, a customer must sign up for a new two-year contract from Verizon, AT&T, or Sprint at the store. Alternatively, a customer can opt for one of Walmart's pre-paid wireless plans.

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