While the focus of vendor buy-back programs has traditionally been on responsible recycling of products, the emphasis here is on refurbishing phones to today’s standards and reselling them, as a way of dealing with chip supply issues.
Poly, in both their original Polycom and Plantronics forms, has had recycling-focused device buyback programs for years. However, in October, the company introduced a new type of renewal program with Poly Renew. Its primary focus is on refurbishing older devices up to today’s standards, and then reselling them, although there is still a recycling component to it. The Poly Renew program also allows customers to dispose of multiple older devices for credits for a new one, with the program being handled seamlessly by Poly on behalf of their channel partners.
“We did a quiet launch of the program in October – the crawl part of the scenario – and are just now getting to the walk part,” said Nick Tidd, VP Global Channel Sales at Poly. “We wanted to make sure that the motion is seamless.”
Tidd said that the program has two components to it.
“We, like many manufacturers, have been struggling with availability of chips,” he indicated. “Traditionally, most hardware vendors run a recycle program, where they have you sign a destruction order and give you credit for a future purchase. The onus was then on the end user to dispose of the product. This program, on the other hand, is designed to secure the return of our desktop phones for recycle or refurbishment. Poly has not had a refurb program before. It lets us take these phones, bring them up to the latest standards and resell them both domestically and globally. We can do this because we have our own manufacturing capability in Tijuana, so we can bring the devices up to the most current code, which provides the ability to negate supply issues, and will help the channel overcome allocation issues.”
Here’s how the program works.
“We provide a calculator in the partner portal, and the partner enters the quantity of devices, and we provide a credit for them to a Poly purchase,” Tidd said. “We do a power check to make sure they are functioning. We expecting that most of these phones will be able to be refurbished, that only a very small percentage will have breakage. That’s why they have to be able to power up.”
Tidd said the program benefits from a greater desire from end users than before for newer devices with more features.
“We are finding that as people return to the office, they are looking for the great experience that they had on their devices at home,” Tidd noted. “They find that office phones are inferior, so they are forced into a huddle space to get better quality. We are also seeing IT managers and senior staff who want to come back wanting a more robust phone.”
Tidd said that the response to the program so far has been very good. Looking ahead, as the program evolves further from the walk to the run stage, look for Poly to push it more strongly.
“You will see us double down on the messaging,” Tidd said. “We know that the program is seamless. We will be putting marketing material and collateral together. Everything we do is through the channel, so expect to see more marketing material and collateral support for partners in support of the program.”
Going forward, it’s also likely that the program will be expanded to other types of devices.
“We have been asked to expand this to video gear and headsets, and so we are likely to expand the program at some point as well,” Tidd indicated.
Tidd stressed that from a partner perspective, Poly Renew is all upside, so it really makes sense for them to check it out.
“The program is a unique opportunity,” he said. “From a partner perspective, its seamless, with no logistic issues, and no shipping costs. I would encourage them to look at the program through our partner portal.”