Mobiles being refurbished for re-use

Argos: Gadget Trade-in

27th July 2015

UK leading digital retailer Argos rolls out an innovative new Gadget Trade-in service in stores across the UK which enables customers to conveniently recycle their old devices. 

A case study developed through REBus, a Life+ funded project, in partnership with WRAP.

The key aims of the service for Argos:
To increase customer loyalty, footfall and spend; and
To continue to improve their environmental credentials.

The journey 

WRAP worked in partnership with Argos and the Home Retail Group to help them develop and test a robust circular economy business model, through REBus, a European Life+ funded project.

REBus is delivered through a partnership which includes: lead partner WRAP working together with Aldersgate Group, KTN, Rijkswaterstaat and The University of Northampton. With the contribution of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union.

Watch the Argos: Gadget Trade-in case study video

The content of this video has been explored further within this web page.


The Home Retail Group* (HRG) and Argos project leaders:
Megan Kitchen – Environmental and Ethical Affairs Manager
Nadeem Arshad – New Propositions Manager

* Argos, a UK leading digital retailer, is part of the Home Retail Group


The process
  • Research and develop a robust business model, looking at innovation, feasibility and the business case
  • Pilot across 10 stores from March 2014
  • Sell the benefits of the Gadget Trade-in model internally within HRG/Argos and gain sign off
  • Staff training for national roll-out
  • National roll-out from 22 May 2015
  • Review

Starting your circular journey with REBus

Learn from practical action already being taken and take your first step with the help of REBus: existing examples, REBus pilots, Getting started tools and guidance.

SME’s involved in electricals and textiles

We have a few places left for SME’s to join a REBus pilot. If eligible, you will receive funded tailored support which could increase customer loyalty and profits. Interested? then complete an expression of interest.


Nadeem Arshad Argos

 ‘My advice to other businesses considering this type of service, promoting re-use and recycling, would be to have that courage and conviction to push it forward; there are commercial and circular economy benefits.’ Nadeem, HRG/Argos


Megan Kitchen Argos

‘My advice to anybody looking at resource efficient models is to  ensure they access the wealth of market data and knowledge out there to back up and support what they are trying to do.’ Megan HRG/Argos



‘If we can make this fantastic unique proposition for our customers work, then we can hope to expand this to other products. This is really great for our customers and I think it’s going to grow and grow.’ Anthony Houghton, Argos Stores Director

In-store Argos

Working together

Working in partnership across all project teams was an essential element which lead to a successful roll-out of this service to over 750 Argos Stores in May 2015.


This included the partnership between Argos and WRAP, and cross-team working within Argos.


Megan – the environmental perspective

‘WRAP has always been able to tailor information to our specific business requirements.

Working with WRAP helped to connect us with experts both within WRAP and externally who were able to model financial scenarios which were helpful for us to consider the project.’


Nadeem – the commercial perspective

‘WRAP and their experts helped with the businesses cases, the commercials, sense checking the numbers, sense checking the process as I was setting it up to ensure I wasn’t missing any fundamental part to an area that was very new to me.

Without having WRAP by my side, I wouldn’t have been able to have created this trial as comprehensively as I have done.’


Megan – internal collaborative approach 

 ‘A programme can’t be delivered by just one team. All areas of the business need to be engaged so that we can recognise the business benefits as well as the environmental benefits.’


Circular business models - introduction

‘Millions of devices, mobile phones and tablets are sitting in people’s homes languishing and depreciating. When they do get rid of them, they go onto landfill.’ Nadeem, HRG/Argos


Gadget Trade-in

The Argos Gadget Trade-in service is a great example of how resource efficient business models can work in practice and demonstrates a professional business case for change. It can generate both business and environmental benefits.


Engaging with the REBus process

The REBus business model development process was an integral part of this project – WRAP facilitated the process and helped Argos understand the different stages, realise the benefits and implications of transformational change management. 

WRAP simplified the complexity of the circular economy to help Argos find the most effective path for their business. WRAP recognises that businesses need to take manageable steps towards a circular economy, and it supports businesses in assessing and taking those steps.


Aims and objectives of the project

‘We were looking for ways to develop and deliver business growth through a more circular economy. We recognised that by using resources differently we would not only improve our environmental credentials but could also increase customer loyalty, footfall and spend.’ Megan, HRG/Argos


‘We wanted to create a new proposition which would benefit the whole of the HRG and give us a competitive edge - something which created a usp vs other high street retailer competitors. 

We wanted it to generate additional revenue and also do something for the customer and the environment at the same time - the project ticked every box for me.’ Nadeem HRG/Argos 


The service: Gadget Trade-In

Customers can take their old mobile phones and tablets into any Argos store and exchange them for Argos vouchers. 

‘We partner with our customers to enable sustainability to become part of their daily lives. We’ve made this service really easy and convenient for customers to recycle their devices.’ Megan HRG/Argos


The transaction

Customers take their old devices to the till where a Customer Advisor will check the re-useable value.  If the customer is happy with this value the transaction will go ahead. 

The customer receives an Argos gift voucher for the value of their recycled gadget which they can spend on anything in the catalogue.

The gadgets are also checked against a lost and stolen database.

The Customer Advisor takes the gadget and places it in a sealed envelope with the relevant paperwork. 

The customer benefits by being able to recycle their gadget so that it can potentially be re-used, and by realising the value of their old gadget.

Customer transaction electricals


Partnership with a service provider

This secure package is then sent to an IT Asset Management (ITAM) company where the data is wiped. The gadget is then assessed to see if it can be refurbished so that it can be re-used. 

If it cannot be refurbished or repaired then it is broken down so that the parts can be recycled.

The refurbished gadgets are resold by the ITAM in the UK and throughout Europe.

Mobiles being refurbished for re-useMobiles being refurbished

Next steps

‘We have something that works; it has scalability, commercial potential and the ability to add credibility to our brand.’ Nadeem, HRG/Argos


Nadeem set himself two objectives for the trial: 

  • Testing customer appetite - Customers need to have an appetite for Gadget Trade-in to want to take advantage of this service.
  • Testing reverse logistics flow process - We needed to create a process that took a physical product through the returns cages in a reverse logistics flow.


Following a successful pilot, Nadeem was able to provide the Stores team with all the necessary information they needed to approve rolling out this service to all Argos stores.

The Gadget Trade-in service was rolled out to all Argos stores from 22 May 2015.

Store staff have received training and they have service support packs next to each till.