During our tour in Helsinki, we met with one of the product managers at Swappie. This company has made it their mission to reduce electronic waste by refurbishing and reselling iPhones.
The company allows its customers to purchase second-hand iPhones in like-new condition, offering Apple devices without the hefty price tag. Swappie acquires these second-hand iPhones from two primary sources: customers who sell their used devices and device suppliers.
What's interesting about the company, besides its innovative approach to reducing e-waste and competing directly with Apple, is its evolution. Founded in 2016, Swappie started as a refurbishment operation but has grown into much more.
Today, Swappie offers leasing and insurance services called "Swappie Care" and deals extensively with packaging and advanced shipping of devices to customers. Their highly advanced factory employs about 1,300 employees and recently crossed the one million customers mark.
One of the core values driving this company is trust in the customer. During the device acquisition process, Swappie trusts the information the customer provides about the device. Of course, if the information doesn't match the actual device, it's returned to the customer.
Swappie has also developed a unique unboxing experience for their phones, reminiscent of Apple's premium packaging. They've invested a lot of thought and development into this.
If you look up Swappie on TikTok, you'll find plenty of videos showcasing the unboxing experience. The company has become a status symbol in its own right, making it fashionable to buy second-hand.
The logistics of shipping devices to and from customers are quite complex, especially considering the different shipping regulations in each country. Swappie has set up logistics centers in Germany and Tallinn (Estonia) to address these challenges.
Another significant challenge is predicting market demand for specific device models (e.g., model, color, storage capacity). Swappie must stay ahead of the market trends to meet customer demand effectively.
While the company is considering expanding to other electronic devices to promote recycling and innovation further, it's clear that its main focus is on Apple devices, which seem to hold the highest value.