Mobiles being refurbished for re-use

Argos: Gadget Trade-in

27th July 2015

A case study developed through REBus and WRAP to work with leading digital retailer, Argos, to roll out an innovative new Gadget Trade-in service in stores across the UK. 


Case study overview

REBus Life plus logo'sWRAP worked in partnership with Argos and the Home Retail Group to help them develop and test a robust circular economy business model.

Using the key research from REBus and WRAP's work on resource efficient business models, Argos developed a Gadget Trade-in scheme for customers to trade-in their second-hand electrical products for credit on future purchases in store. 

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.

For an overview of the scheme and how it works, watch the video below:


The project process

The project took the following key steps to implement the new scheme and sell the idea to key stakeholders, staff and Argos customers:

  • 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 project success

The roll-out

Argos had two objectives when conducting the trial and roll-out process. 

  • 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 - Argos needed to create a process that took a physical product through the returns cages in a reverse logistics flow.

Following a successful pilot, Argos were 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.


The service: Gadget trade-in

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

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.

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.



Megan Kitchen – the environmental perspectiveMegan Kitchen Argos

‘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.'

'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.’

- Megan Kitchen, Environmental and Ethical Affairs Manager, Home Retail Group/Argos

Nadeem – the commercial perspectiveNadeem Arshad Argos

‘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.’

- Nadeem Arshad, New Propositions Manager, Home Retail Group/Argos

Anthony - the big picture In-store 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


Where next?

Want find out more about resource efficient business models as part of sustainable electricals? Take a a look at our reports, guides, tools and case studies:

Reports >>
Guides >>
Tools >>
Case studies >>