Earlier this week, Back Market – a refurbished electronics reseller – had an interesting ad campaign that really caught my attention. As part of their “Hack Market” advertising effort, Back Market, in essence, AirDrop spammed customer and demo devices inside Apple retail locations with a link to their website that promotes the purchase of used devices.
Back Market’s purpose is to purchase used electronics, “renew” them, and then resell the used equipment at a substantial savings to customers. By promoting the purchase of used devices is that it keeps perfectly good devices from becoming e-waste and going into a landfill. In my opinion, this is a win-win for gadget fans. It allows you to get a recent device at a great price and helps the planet. But more on that a little bit later.
According to Romain Dillet and Ingrid Lunden, writing for TechCrunch.com Back Market, based in France, is a marketplace for customers to sell their used electronics and offer them to customers who are looking to save money by purchasing used equipment at varying price points. The company has been established in Europe for several years. Buying used electronics extends the useful life of the device. This use, sell, reuse process has become known as the “circular economy.”
In 2018, Back Market opened an online store front and began operations here in the US.
They offer a wide range of electronics including laptops, gaming consoles, cameras, home appliances, and yes, Apple hardware. They even offer a student discount. That’s a pretty cool company if you ask me.
I hadn’t heard of Back Market before this week. Previously, I had purchased used and refurbished devices either directly from Apple, Gazelle, or eBay. So, I watched the YouTube video that is part of the “Hack Market” campaign.
Naturally, I had to check out their website and ended up buying something. Mission accomplished.
I started by looking at refurbished iPads and MacBooks, but I really didn’t have a need for one. I thought that I might buy one and leave it at the office so I had a personal device that I could tether to my iPhone to check email, surf the web, and those sorts of things. But, after some thought, I could just do that on the iPhone 13 Pro Max that was already in my pocket. Then I took a look at renewed Apple Watch Series 6 stock. I immediately gravitated to the Series 6 44mm Stainless Steel Watch. I had been considering trading in my Series 6 44mm Aluminum Nike+ edition towards the purchase of a Series 7 45mm Stainless Steel model. But, wow, the new price even with the trade in was a bit steep given that I have a new Mac Studio and Studio Display on the way.
Back Mark, on the other hand, was selling an Apple Watch Series 6 44mm Stainless Steel watch in excellent condition for $299 plus tax. The refurbished Stainless Watch was on sale for less than a new Series 7 Stainless with an Apple trade in for my current Aluminum 44mm. I thought about it for a couple of days, and I purchased the new-to-me Stainless on Thursday. I picked 3-day shipping. It arrived the next day from New York.
The Watch that I received was, indeed, in excellent condition. Looking closely at the used Watch, I was not able to detect any scrapes, scuffs, dents, scratches, or knicks. Clearly this Watch’s previous owner took as much care of their gadget as I do.
Back Market ships their devices is a standard bubble back mailer. Inside the mailer is cardboard box that has some bubble wrap that contained my Apple Watch, a knockoff Sport Band, charger, and power brick all in inexpensive plastic packing. My first impression was that there was a lot more plastic than I was expecting, but I didn’t think it was excessive. Conversely, Apple’s use of paper packaging is remarkable, however, their refurbished devices are more expensive. I’m chalking up Back Market’s packing methods up to overall operating cost reductions.
I have purchased a lot of Apple bands over the years since the introduction of the original Watch. I also have at least two Apple Watch chargers and power adaptors. So, I set the Back Market accessories aside. I probably will bring the charger to the office incase either I or one of my coworkers forgets to charge their watch overnight.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with my purchase and I would definitely buy more renewed electronics from them again in the future. The Back Market website was easy to use. I felt that the prices were reasonable, and as I get older, the idea of refurbishing and extending the service life of our electronics makes a lot of sense.