Did you know that one of the side effects of the technological revolution is an ever-growing mountain of e-waste, which generates enormous amounts of chemicals that are harmful to both plants and humans? Did you know that the total value of discarded e-waste in 2019 alone was conservatively valued at US $57 billion*? "What can I do about that?" you ask. There’s a simple solution: say yes to refurbished products, especially if you’re someone who upgrades your electronic gadgets frequently. And Amazon Renewed is a great avenue for enabling this.
Amazon offers refurbished products through the Amazon Renewed store, giving you an opportunity to contribute to reduction of e-waste. But what is a ‘refurbished’ product how does it help us be more sustainable? More importantly, can you trust the products being sold in the Renewed store to be genuine? To help demystify this, we spoke to Rajarshi Guin - Director, Amazon Renewed, to tell us more about the program and why you should care about it.
Can you tell us more about the Amazon Renewed program? What does it entail?
Amazon Renewed — launched in India in 2017 — is an online store on Amazon.in through which we offer a wide selection of refurbished products across electronic categories like smartphones, computers, kitchen appliances, headphones, and more. In India, where ‘refurbished’ as a category is fairly new, there is a growing customer trend of upgrading to new gadgets frequently. While new products come with the brand or manufacturer’s quality assurance, refurbished products don’t. This often results in customers either ignoring refurbished products or purchasing second-hand products that may fail to meet their expectations.
We launched Amazon Renewed to provide customers high quality products that are easy on the pocket and also on the environment. Renewed products are affordable (they are available at a 10% to 30% discount compared to a new product), like-new (unboxed, i.e. the customer might have opened the box, switched the device on, and then decided to return it; the seller then retails it as like-new), and comes with a six-month seller-provided warranty. Refurbished products like this are good for the environment too as they reduce e-waste.
How can customers trust Renewed products? If one wants to save money and contribute to reducing e-waste, why not buy a used product elsewhere?
It’s important to understand that products on the Amazon Renewed store are not in used condition, but are graded/repaired to like-new condition. So they are as good as new, come with a six-month warranty, along with all associated accessories, as well as Amazon’s support — assurances that used products outside of Amazon do not offer.
It is reasonable for a customer to wonder about the quality of a Renewed product. Before being put up on the store, these products are thoroughly inspected and tested by qualified sellers who have to consistently meet our stringent quality requirements. Also, the six-month seller-backed warranty shows the confidence sellers have on the quality of these products. Of course, any immediate defect that is identified post purchase is covered within the return/replacement policy, while the six-month warranty covers defects identified in the course of the usage of the product.
So, if you like to upgrade often, buying from Amazon Renewed is an affordable, environment-friendly choice that comes with a whole lot of benefits that second-hand products bought elsewhere won’t offer.
Have you seen growing interest from customers in Renewed products?
In the last few years, we've seen high double-digit growth in this business and are getting good feedback from customers.
This is also helpful for sellers because they are able to realize better prices on their unboxed and refurbished products, and we are seeing a lot of interest from our selling partners as well.
How does Amazon Renewed contribute towards sustainability?
One of the objectives of Renewed is to help the environment by practicing the three 'R's — reduce, reuse, and recycle. To explain this simply, the purchase of every new product adds to the overall e-waste on the planet. When electronics are disposed of, they release chemicals like lead, sulfuric acid, and beryllium, which mix with air and water and pollute the environment. Choosing a refurbished product over a brand-new one leads to lesser e-waste.
It is encouraging to see that sustainability is a priority for an increasing number of our customers. In a 2019 study, we found that a whopping 40% of our customers care that there’s an environment-related benefit attached to their purchase, and some of them are even willing to pay a premium for that. Through Renewed, we want to support this priority and do our bit to contribute to the health of our planet.