It is estimated that smartphones currently account for 10% of the e-waste generated globally. Therefore, the need of the hour is to create a sustainable circular economy for smartphones and other electronic devices to make refurbished devices a valued choice, if not the preferred one. Xtracover, an e-commerce platform, is on an endeavour to bring in that change by offering pre-owned devices with a gamut of after-sales services for smartphones and other electronic devices to prolong their usage. The company’s key offerings – price discovery and comparison, warranty support, repair and refurbishment services, and buyback of old devices from customers for cash – makes Xtracover the only organized player in the market with a similar background. It also offers pre-owned certified device sales with a one-year warranty, which is unique in the refurbished industry. At Xtracover, the complete refurbishment process includes multiple layers of tests. The Health check certification (XCQC), a 64-parameter check for a mobile phone at any stage of its life, builds trust between the company and the consumer. It assures the user to incur minimal or zero repair costs if needed.
The brainchild of Mr. Soumitra Gupta, Xtracover was incepted in 2017 but started its operations only in 2019. It operates in the B2B and B2B2C segments with a technologically equipped team of professionals with over 20 years of experience in repairs, refurbishment, warranty support, and product lifecycle management. With a strong domestic and global supply chain, Xtracover’s ability to source components from across the world (and even directly from OEMs) gives it a competitive edge over its peers in the industry.
Here is an excerpt of the exclusive interview with Mr. Soumitra Gupta.
Refurbished consumer electronics have been around for years, but why have they not taken off as anticipated?
India’s refurbishment sector was slow-progressing primarily due to the stigma attached to buying a second-hand device and the lack of after-sales services. To put it simply, the challenge was the customer’s mindset and the volume of the market. However, the economic slowdown has made people more conscious about their spending power, increasing sales of refurbished products. Moreover, factors like global chip shortage slowing down smartphone production and vendors pushing more affordable refurbished devices are also luring consumers to make the switch.
In this fast-paced environment, customers look for exceptional after-sales services without compromising quality. Now, with new brands entering the market, the volume has also gone up. Aforeserve Technologies (P) Ltd (ATPL), through its brand Xtracover, is providing its customers with superior service that leads to the usage of a full array of offerings, eventually resulting in repeat sales.
What is the repeat buying rate by customers so far?
It is still too early to assess the repeat buying rate for refurbished gadgets we offer individually. However, our cross-category services have experienced a high rate of return. For example, a customer who buys a refurbished smartphone may return to us for a warranty on a new phone or repair on other devices they have purchased as we provide a comprehensive life cycle solution for mobile phones.
Which products are the most bought?
A significant chunk of our sales comes from Apple products as it seems to be a fan-favorite device range. The iPhone 7 is the best seller, followed by iPhone 5S, iPhone 8, and iPhone XR.
What are the government guidelines for refurbished items?
As of now, there are no government-issued criteria. There is no need to meet any quality requirements or certification, due to which the refurbished market appears to be unorganised. However, to gain trust and encourage the consumers to use refurbished items, Xtracover has developed and implemented an XCQC quality certification for each device sold on the platform. It is a 64-parameter quality check, including auto and semi-manual inspections. After the scan, a unique certificate is uploaded to the cloud and available to the consumers to validate the device’s health.
We would like to know about the major challenges you faced while creating Xtracover. How did you handle those challenges?
In 2017, Mr. Soumitra Gupta founded Xtracover. He has over two decades of experience in the repair, refurbishment, and ICT lifecycle management services space. The core team, too, has a similar background of technical know-how and industry knowledge that they gained over years of direct partnerships with the world’s leading ODMs and OEMs. Therefore, when Xtracover was incepted, little was left to understand how the industry works. The only challenge is that India’s refurbished market is still dominated by unorganized players and is poised to transform into an organized industry. However, we see this as a major opportunity.
How is Xtracover still different from other marketplaces? What makes you different from competitors?
Currently, no other organized player in the market offers end-to-end lifecycle management services for smartphones and other electronic devices. Moreover, no other service provider has the industry experience and tech background that matches our team of experts at Xtracover. Besides the team’s know-how, we know that the buyer is concerned about the quality of spare parts used in the refurbishment process and the warranty the seller offers. And for us, customer satisfaction is a priority. Our XCQC tool evaluates the quality of a device by running automated tests and issuing a certificate for the same. Devices are only sold on the Xtracover platform after passing the XCQC test with the certificate accessible to the consumer.
How was the year 2021 for Xtracover in terms of business growth?
We had an amazing 2021. Between January 2021 to January 2022, we registered a 340% YOY growth in electronic devices shipment in urban areas and a whopping 528% rise in the rural sector
What is making you hopeful for the year 2022?
Around 25 million used smartphones were traded in India’s second-hand market in 2021, and the number is expected to reach 51 million units by 2025. It is evident that the industry is poised for growth. Customers today demand convenience and a better experience, and we at Xtracover are committed to providing one.
In 2022, we plan to create Export-Oriented Units (EOU) in India to increase our global outreach. Xtracover intends to export goods from large customers, refurbish them in bonded warehouses, and ship them back. India doesn’t allow importing scrapped goods for refurbishment and sale. Therefore, exporting them back and earning the service payment is one strategy to increase Xtracover’s global presence.