The Stigma of Buying Second User Technology

The Stigma of Buying Second User Technology

Buying second user equipment is perceived differently depending on what the goods are that we purchase. We’re relaxed about buying a second user car as we can paint a full understanding of the vehicle’s history and have reliable repairs available, but why is buying second user technology any different? In this article we explore the stigma around buying second user technology and how the modern world has advanced beyond our mindset.

Confidence in purchasing second user items varies significantly depending on the type of article you are buying. However, in the modern world with a push towards sustainable products being key to a sustainable future, why is it that we are more confident buying a second-user car at a greater cost, than when we are buying second-user technology at a fraction of the price?

In this article we’re going to explore and challenge the view of second user equipment in hopes of providing reasons which can be perceived as…

Quick Wins in Re-use

There are some quick wins in re-use which are great for the environment, and don’t pose much in the way of risk. The re-use of clothing and anything that doesn’t require too much maintenance, for example, is an easy decision to make. It’s the reason we have an abundance of charity shops on our high streets.

There is no special treatment, other than cleaning it in the laundry (in the case of clothing) or wiping the dust off an arbitrary item.

The Car Versus Computer Conundrum

Let’s look at when the second user item becomes more complex; when we consider buying reused cars or technology, we’re naturally quick to scout the second user end of the spectrum. It is agreeable that purchasing a vehicle is a larger investment than that of a computer, but to what extent?

The answer to this question depends heavily on your budget. Yet the question still stands, why is it more widely accepted to buy a used car, than it is to buy second user technology?

When we use our money to obtain a second-hand car we consider it an investment. You might be spending £1,000 on a used car, or you might be spending £20,000 on a used car, with the potential of going beyond that figure.

This investment depends on your budget and somewhat on your taste. Of course, when you are spending at the lower end of the scale perhaps it’s worth taking the chance, but why are we so happy to take that ‘gamble’ at the upper end of the scale but we don’t know if we can trust buying a second user laptop?

The most common objections in the sales process of our remanufactured laptops are “what if it goes wrong?”, “how can I trust it will function as well as the new equivalent?”, and “how do I know it will last?”.

There is a somewhat automatic and absolute assumption that when it comes to technology buying new will serve you best. We accept with the automotive market that this statement is not necessarily true but we need to change our mindset for a sustainable, technology driven future.

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Trusted and Reliable Repairers

Perhaps the reason of our opinions is that the automotive industry is very well served when it comes to repair and maintenance. Not only are there legal requirements to get a car on the road, ensuring that the car you are buying is road worthy and safe, but there is no shortage of garages and mechanics to take your car to when something goes wrong.

Garages have been around for years, they are regulated and for these reasons, we’ve learned to trust what they tell us for the most part.

When buying a new car you can carry out the legal checks and learn about the vehicle’s history answering questions such as, “has this car been in an accident?”, “does this car have a valid MOT?”, and “how many owners has this car had?”. The understanding you’re able to obtain with this information gives you clarity as to what to expect from your purchase.

Nevertheless, when we come to purchase a used laptop, there are quite often no such reassurances, no equivalent facts, figures, service logs, and clear history.

The Depreciation of Technology

As we are all aware, a brand-new car depreciates in value the moment you drive it off the forecourt. Therefore, it is easy to ask ourselves “why spend £40,000?” when you can spend half that at a used dealership, or even less buying private. And if it’s the feel of a new car you’re looking for, it’s unlikely the initial excitement and the vehicle is going to stay with you for an extended period.

The argument here is that the same can also be said for technology such as laptops. Once you’ve unboxed that laptop, you’re unlikely to get the same price for it selling on the second user market.

Depreciation has a positive effect on pricing when it comes to buying a second user laptop, for instance, our products on average cost approximately 40% less than if you were to buy the same product new. In fact, for the budget you spend with Circular Computing™, you’ll likely get a much higher spec system than you would have, had you bought new.

What Balfour Beatty Say

Jon Ozanne, CIO at construction giant Balfour Beatty and a Circular Computing customer says his staff “…feel the devices are better than what they had before, we know they’re a higher spec and that was a sales point for us, they are lighter and actually once they knew about the sustainability benefits that were coming from this, I think people are generally really supportive…”.

Ozanne goes on to summarise; “It’s a no brainer – lower cost, lower waste, better for the environment and no operational performance concerns. We would absolutely do it again and would highly recommend it.” You can check out our Balfour Beatty feature for the full Jon Ozanne interview.

Product Reliability & Returns

If it is considered that every time you buy a new car you’re getting a better model, then can this be true of technology?

Historically yes, however it’s most likely that plenty of us have experienced brand new technology which has failed. It’s not always the case that new works better, in fact, many of our enterprise customers measure success based on RMA.

RMA is the Return Merchandise Authorisation of the product and the figure represents the volume of technology that must be swapped out due to failure following delivery.

Through the innovation of remanufacturing stand-out products, our company are not only delivering better RMA figures but are also improving upon the original laptop function and specification. Admittedly, at less than 3%, Circular Computing actually report an RMA that is either lower or equal to that of buying new.

Aftermarket Support Networks

Aftermarket communities are big in the automotive world but aren’t simply limited to the car industry by any means.

Technology has one of the largest aftermarket communities with passionate tech aficionados lurking in every corner of the internet. Whether you want to know which laptop is going to give you the best value for money, or if you need to know which model is going to perform the best in your situation, there is a professional at every click to help inform your purchase.

Once a product has been around for some time, the product will earn a reputation, be it good, bad or indifferent.

When a product is well established there is a plethora of analysis information to inform the buyer, both statistically proven, and born out of user feedback.

With the aftermarket communities growing in the digital space and knowing that the software support is there, sometimes buying decisions can come down to what the hardware looks like. From its general appearance to whether it looks heavily used, this an important factor in the buying process.

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The Appearance of Second Hand

When buying anything considered to be second user you will mostly be judging the book by its cover. When you buy brand new this judgement isn’t as strong since you go by brand reputation in your decision-making process and therefore you feel less compelled to need to check everything is just as you desire.

You won’t need an advance understanding in technology or to be part of a mechanics workshop when you’re considering what to look for in either a used laptop or car. When addressing the cosmetics of the second user product, it’s usually obvious.

The Circular Computing product represent a new, high standard in both hardware performance and cosmetic appearance. You’d have to have a keen eye for detail to realise that the product we provide is not brand new. Our only competition at present is the common laptop ‘refurbisher’, one who works with second user products and grades them, but the grading varies from company to company.

The new-world second user market for technology has changed. Every laptop Circular Computing sell is put through the same quality-controlled remanufacturing process. This means that whether you by one, or one thousand of our laptops, they will all come out at the same level of quality, in both form and function.

We are very excited that you won’t need to take our word for it, thanks to Circular Computing becoming the very first remanufacturer of laptops to be awarded the BSI Remanufacturer Kitemark™. This achievement means that every laptop we bring to market will be created to the same ‘as new or better than new’ standard we pride ourselves on.

Although the product may look and perform like new a key part of having a prestige product comes down to the initial physical presentation.

The Great Unboxing Predicament

The most modern feeling reason to discuss is the final part of the buying process – the unboxing.

Whilst we are more clued up than ever on environmental issues and reducing waste, our social media channels are busy telling us that unboxing your new laptop, smartphone or watch is a signifier of success. This is the modern ‘humble brag’ as individuals we display on social networking sites and we owe its origin to the products initial, and satisfying, presentation when presented to the consumer.

Unboxing is not the sort of excitement you commonly associate with second user items, but it doesn’t have to be that way! At Circular Computing we have worked hard to ensure that our second user laptops give you all the same feelings as brand new products when you unbox them. This obviously has the added bonus of an actual humble brag on social media channels, since the packaging and product is vastly more sustainable and the knowledge that your ‘new’ laptop is carbon neutral.

The general consensus when buying used technology is that you are more vulnerable to buying something that may have problems and provides you less or zero protection when it comes to resolving these issues.

As the above reigns true we often hear the question “how do I know if the person selling the used goods is as reliable as the manufacturer?”

In our example of car versus laptop, we couldn’t possibly fault the OEMs – they do an outstanding job and if it wasn’t for their excellence we wouldn’t be in business. But what we have learned here at Circular Computing, is how to remanufacture and rebuild what the OEMs have created and iron out any glitches they’ve accumulated in their first life.

Whilst buying ‘used’ is becoming more of a socially accepted trend and generally more sensible for both the environment and budgets, we conclude that if you buy your used high value products through a reputable, reliable and accredited organisation, you really have nothing to lose.

Not only do you gain the aforementioned benefits but will likely also enjoy a higher spec model for less cost, a reliable product, less impact to the environment, a great user experience, and a wonderful sense of inner peace when you consider the lessened social and human impact.

To learn more about our range of carbon-neutral remanufactured laptops, sustainability accreditations and how you can use technology to reduce your impact on the environment, take a look at our website.

For the latest updates you can also follow us over on LinkedIn, or Facebook and Twitter if you prefer.

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For an overview, full specification and pricing, please download our  catalogue of our core remanufactured laptop models.