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How to Buy iPhone Returns

If you’re looking to purchase and resell mobile phones, iPhones are a top choice! When it comes to the secondary mobile market, iPhones (and really all Apple products) retain their value. Consider this: at two years post-launch, used Androids will decrease in value by nearly double that of iPhones—Android at 62.5%, and iPhone at 35.5% respectively. So why does used iPhone pricing stay higher than Android? This is due to a few reasons, the main ones being that 1) Apple has better brand loyalty and status, and 2) that the cost to repair an iPhone is typically lower. In the US alone, iPhones have a 65% share of smartphone sales. In fact, it’s estimated that 1 billion people use iPhones worldwide! If you’re thinking about selling used iPhones or are looking for a steady stream of inventory, here are some tips to think about as you embark.

In this blog, we cover: 

  • The value of iPhone returns 
  • Global chip shortages 
  • Where to buy used phones 
  • Tips for buying iPhone returns 
  • How to sell iPhone returns

What makes iPhone returns so valuable? 

The brand recognition that Apple holds, along with the exclusivity of one new iPhone release a year, makes iPhone returns very valuable. The cycle to upgrade is quick, too, with the lines blurring between the latest model and the one prior. But while everyone wants to get their hands on the latest drop, you have an opportunity to fill the needs of other shoppers.

Used phones, among iPhone returns, are turning into a hot commodity as a global chip shortage brought on by Covid lockdowns, factory closures, and silicon supply constraints could start impacting Apple as well. This includes chips used to perform basic functions (powering displays and dealing with audio) on a smartphone. While these shortages have already been felt by manufacturers of cars and video games, who also use semiconductors during production, it seems that Apple is no exception. 

Despite sales of iPhones being up 50% annually to $39.57 billion in sales, it’s possible that shortages may hinder consumers from upgrading right away. That’s where resellers like you can offer iPhone returns that the average consumer may not have had access to.

Where To Buy Used iPhones

Purchase iPhone returns directly from the source

With the high volume of iPhone trade-ins, many wireless networks, retailers, and trade-in companies are leveraging B2B sales channels – like the one B-Stock provides – to sell bulk quantities of iPhone devices directly to business buyers. By purchasing directly from the retailer, you can assume that 1) there is no liquidator involvement 2) there are no price markups and 3) that the retailer wants to move the inventory as quickly as possible.

B-Stock currently operates the world’s largest network of online marketplaces for customer-returned, excess, or previously traded-in wireless inventory. These marketplaces provide buyers access to iPhone devices directly from top wireless retailers and trade-in companies; you are buying directly from them!

eBay, Amazon, and Swappa 

Refurbished and unlocked cell phones are available on marketplace sites like eBay, Amazon, and Swappa. Smaller lots, wholesale bulk lots, and individually used phones can be found here. However, you should ensure they are coming from a reliable seller by first checking their ratings. These are also great resources for checking to see what the current resale value of the used phone is.

B-Stock Supply

B-Stock Supply is a great starting point for buyers big and small. You can purchase case packs, which is the standard shipping practice used for mobile phones, which is a box with individual slots for wrapped mobile phones. These boxes usually range in size from 30 to 50-unit case packs.  

The best part about Supply is that you are participating in auctions—which means you only pay what you want! There are also auctions with the Phonecheck Certified Badge, these are guaranteed to be in 100% working condition. In addition, each auction provides our buyers with the MSRP value of the lot, number of units, product condition, location zip code, and shipping arrangement.

4 Tips To Help You Buy iPhone Returns

1. Ensure constant supply

It’s important to have enough iPhone inventory to satisfy the needs of your customers. Make sure the marketplaces you are sourcing from have a continuous supply of Apple returns you need to keep your customers happy. Check out the following marketplaces that offer bulk quantities of iPhone devices across all models (even the newest iterations) and conditions (Grade A to salvage). 

2. Be well versed in condition codes

From Grades A-E, you can find used iPhones in the condition that suits your business needs. There is a universal grading scale criteria for carriers and manufacturers to follow when selling their used inventory.

Grade A

  • Like new condition
  • Negligible scratches and blemishes.
  • Tested and fully functional with clean ESN and no user locks (for example FMIP / iCloud locked).

Grade B

  • Light wear and tear
  • May have one or several light scratches that do not catch a fingernail or tool. No cracks present on the device or display.
  • Tested and fully functional with clean ESN and no user locks (not FMIP / iCloud locked).

Grade C

  • More aggressive wear and tear
  • May have cracks on certain surface areas such as camera lens, rear lens but not on display cover lens (Glass panel and Digitizer).
  • Tested and fully functional with clean ESN and no user locks (for example FMIP / iCloud locked).

Grade D

  • Heavy cosmetic damage with cover lens cracks
  • Will have excessive damage on multiple surface areas and cracks on the display cover lens but not on the LCD. In addition, there may be missing parts, liquid damage and screen burn present.
  • Units are tested but may not be fully functional. Clean ESN but units may be user locked (for example FMIP / iCloud locked).

Grade E

  • Heavy cosmetic damage with LCD damage
  • Will have excessive damage on multiple surface areas including the display internal structure. Damage may range from but not limited to liquid damage, missing parts, screen burn etc.
  • Units are tested but may not be fully functional. Clean ESN but units may be user locked (for example FMIP / iCloud locked).

Get the full breakdown on mobile condition codes, check out ​Buying Used Phones? Meet the New Mobile Grades.

3. Purchase the right amount

Buying iPhones in bulk is the best way to ensure bigger margins. That said, make sure you are purchasing the right quantity of phones for your needs. It’s typical that larger lots of devices have a lower cost-per-item but you don’t want to purchase more than you can sell. 

4. Know how much used iPhones are worth

Before you can sell used iPhones and turn a profit, you need to do some market. Conduct a quick Google search or visit your local mobile carrier for trade-in prices. Depending on the year, model, storage, operating system, and of course, condition, you will see a wide range. To find out what the going rate is, simply try typing something like “How much is a used iPhone 11 worth?” You can cross-reference the results from shopping ads, marketplace sites like Swappa, blogs and tech publications, and other sources. Here is an example of the results below! 

How to Sell Used iPhones

Clean it up, wipe it down

In some cases, used phones may not be data wiped. When flipping phones, you want to restore them to factory settings and ensure all personal data is gone, such as Apple IDs. This is a good time to check the serial number and ensure it’s clean (not stolen). You should also wipe it down, removing any fingerprints or scuffs on the phone or screen. If you have a cracked or scratched screen or have a battery that needs replacing, move on to the next step. 

Consider making repairs

You don’t have to be a cell phone specialist to make a quick fix—but it doesn’t hurt to know one. Alternatively, there are mobile repair shops that can take care of it for you. This partnership is both good for you and repair specialists, as you both get business out of it. You’re then able to bid and buy cell phones in lower grades (and for a lower price) to fix up prior to reselling. In the end, you save on sourcing cell phone inventory and then increase the selling price (AKA profits)!

Be aware of upcoming new releases 

Selling phones is easier to do before new models get released. For Apple, these get announced in September, and then preorders follow shortly after. So don’t hang on to your used mobiles too long, as soon as a new one is announced, phones begin to drop in value. Consider when you can make the biggest bang for your buck – but know you always have a steady demand for used phones no matter what.

Sign up as a seller on common marketplaces 

Similar to how you can buy used iPhones on these sites, you can also sell used iPhones on these sites. Marketplaces including Amazon, eBay, Craigslist all make great platforms to sell your iPhone returns and have the buyer audience to back it up. Be sure to take a close look at what your competition is selling and how much buyer demand exists. Learn all the ins and outs of selling on eBay.

Optimize your listings

Your own online store in the form of a customized eCommerce platform can help you stand out from the crowd; keep in mind you’ll need to use marketing strategies to drive buyer traffic to your site. You should also brush up on your SEO knowledge in order to grow the number of visitors to your site by ranking higher in organic searches. When you create listings using search-friendly terms, you reach more interested buyers typing the same query into Google.

Export

There is a huge demand in emerging countries for used smartphones. If you sell overseas it’s best to offer large quantities (versus single units) to save time and money on shipping costs. For more exporting know-how, be sure to catch up on Export Education: An Introduction

Whether this is a side business to make extra cash or a full-time entrepreneurial enterprise, buying and selling used iPhones can prove very profitable.

If you’re looking to test the waters first to see how you do selling a few phones at a time, B-Stock Supply is a safe bet. To check out all iPhone models and conditions available, visit our mobile marketplaces today!

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