As the nation went into a lockdown and restrictions, the need to have a smartphone with web network and legitimacy of applications turned into a necessity.
Founded in 2013 by Mandeep Manocha, Nakul Kumar and Amit Sethi, Cashify formerly was a recommerce platform. From allowing users to sell their used smartphones, laptops, tablets and gaming consoles to finding the right price for all of these right from their doorstep, Cashify became the leading recommerce channel in India in no time. In 2018, Cashify launched its mobile screen repair segment under Cashify ScreenPro which by 2019 turned into a full-fledged doorstep mobile repair service offering home repair for all major smartphone issues.
Initially an online-centric brand, Cashify today has over 60 offline stores all over India. Besides, the smartphone buyback service is catered to 1500+ locations through online mediums. Today, Cashify has about 8 million customers, 15 offices and over 800 people in the team.
Our Editor-in-Chief, Jayanta Ghosh spoke to Mr. Mandeep Manocha, Founder, and CEO of Cashify on effect of pandemic, retail mapping of brand and about Cashify’s “Donate For Education” initiative.
How did the pandemic impact the brand Cashify ? Elaborate on the new initiatives that the brand took to mitigate the impact of Covid?
Just like the rest of the world, Cashify took a hit during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since businesses weren’t allowed to operate during mid-2020, we had to take it all sitting down just like a lot of us. As the lockdown restrictions eased, we started getting back on our feet again.
Be it schooling or work, so many of our daily activities started taking place online that we at Cashify thought it was crucial to step in and help the country as a digital-centric brand. We started our venture Donate For Education in collaboration with various NGOs across the country. The motive was to have as many well-intentioned individuals donate their old and used smartphones, laptops & tablets as possible to us. The smartphones were then passed on to children from the economically weaker sections of the society to help them with their online classes. For the other gadgets that were donated, we handed over smartphones of equivalent value to the children.
For our organization, we started ramping up our offline presence focusing on the customers who prefer to visit a brick and mortar store over an app or website. The same services (buyback, repair, refurbished mobiles, mobile accessories) were offered to customers in these stores across the country.
Tell us about the retail mapping of the brand and how do you plan to increase it?
As of now, we have opened 30 full fledged Cashify Stores across various parts of India, reaching a total of 41 stores. While there was a downsizing of pop-up stores, these new outlets opened up roads for mobile phone clients to just stroll in and get all mobile phone arrangements. Offering buyback, refurbished gadgets, instant mobile repair and mobile accessories these stores today stand solid with a manpower of 180 executives. We further have plans to increase our footprint in India . While the facilities are available online, these stores provide fulfillment to the purchasers who incline towards shopping at stores instead of on the web.
What is your growth forecast for the refurbished smartphone market ? Have you revised your earlier forecast?
As the nation went into a lockdown and restrictions, the need to have a smartphone with web network and legitimacy of applications turned into a necessity. Be it working from home or education, digital became imperative. From online classes to FH, individuals needed to have gadgets in hand. Also, for the individuals who couldn’t stroll into a display area and get another cell phone, renewed gadgets came as a sigh of relief.
So to summarize, the growth in demand is going to be there for the coming months.
How do you use technology for recycling devices and how is recycling different from selling a device?
During the recycling of a device, we extract components that are used for making a mobile device like copper, lead, gold etc. These components are extracted from the phone and are used again for manufacturing new devices.
Idle devices are usually dumped in landfills or kept unused, resulting in more e-waste and increased carbon footprint. Recycling is a great way to reduce greenhouse emissions that result from mining. Whenever one recycles a device, it directly goes to scrap and then is processed further. It aids in e-waste reduction. However, when one sells a device, it must hold some market value and should be in useable condition.
Lastly, according to you, the growth in the sales of pre-owned gadgets is here to stay or you believe that it would fade away when and if things go back to normal for good? What are the parameters of buying and selling a used product? How do you ensure the quality of a refurbished device?
We firmly believe that in the smartphone category the refurbished market will perform better than the new phone market. COVID-19 has resulted in not just health insecurities but also affected the finances of people. This may surely result in seeing a downfall in the new smartphone market space. However, the refurbished sector is sure to see a rise since, now more than ever, people have realized that there is a need to own a smartphone so that you can stay connected & updated with the outside world in case such a situation arises.
The impact of COVID-19 is not just on adults, but also on kids for whom suddenly the concept of school has changed. With the schools & studies shifted online, the need for their own setup (either phone or laptop) has become the only solution. Since we don’t see the situation returning to normal anytime soon, the need for devices for kids will be there & the preference will be for pre-owned devices.
Another point we would like to add here is that various NGOs across India who work for the betterment of people & mainly kids, right from education to providing them with a better lifestyle are impacted here as well. Since they have also migrated to online study, the challenge with them is that the kids in their setup are not financially aided to get personal devices, resultantly we have seen a large number of NGOs coming forward and partnering on the Donate for Education initiative by Cashify, a drive through which we are collecting phones & then passing on the working devices to these NGOs.