Keeping customers happy is essential in the cut-throat world of e-commerce, one dominated by the competition between Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal. If they deliver any product, and it happens to have a scratch or a faulty button, sealed as it may have been, they still have to replace it, just as long as you report it within seven days. We all know that. But what happens to these returned devices then? The box’s seal is broken and, ideally, the company that manufactured and packed the substandard device should take care of it. Greendust is a reverse logistics company that realised these companies — the manufacturers — were losing considerable money managing these replacements. And, as the MD and CEO of Greendust, Hitendra Chaturvedi, told us, when these devices are as big as a refrigerator or a table, companies lose a lot more money just managing refunds or replacements. He offered to take care of these activities — aka the process of reverse logistics. Seven years down the line, Greendust has become a standard in this industry.
As an army kid, Chaturvedi took every opportunity to explore the scenic Himalayas on regular treks. But during a recent visit, he witnessed a trail of chips packets and all sorts of junk being dunked into the river. This troubled him greatly, inciting an urge to bring about change, which is why Greendust’s DNA is made up of five activities — Repair, Recycle, Reuse, Reduce, Resell. As Chaturvedi said, the devices being returned are “red-head orphans” and Greendust takes them in to “groom them into the blue-eyed blondes and find them a home”. Greendust has tied up with Amazon, Snapdeal and Flipkart to handle their reverse logistics, so when a device’s unfortunate fate is to be returned to the seller, Greendust handles the pickup, refurbishing and sales of the device. The device is then taken to the Greendust hospitals, as he referred to them, where they go through a check-up, operation and recovery. As soon as a device is ready to move into a new customer’s care, it’s listed on the website for you to buy.
Greendust deals in smart devices as well as appliances, furnishing and healthcare equipment. While the e-commerce driven sales have been very successful, they even have stores in tier II-III cities. Now, Greendust is also working with Sony and Xiaomi to sell unboxed and refurbished devices at attractive discounts. Keep a track of their social network accounts to know when their flash sales are coming up. The really popular devices, like the iPhone or the Redmi, selling like hot cakes.
Greendust has tied up with Amazon, Snapdeal and Flipkart to handle their reverse logistics, so when a device’s unfortunate fate is to be returned to the seller, Greendust handles the pickup, refurbishing and sales of the device.
Their customer-base has grown over the years mostly by word of mouth. When you get a device and save big money on it, the first thought is whether the deal is too good to be true. That doubt is emphatically removed through the after-sales support and warranty that Greendust provides with every product. And with their technicians spread over 1,000 cities, their doorstep pickup and drop service shows that they genuinely care about the devices even after they’ve been sold. In addition, Greendust has also started offering extended warranty to the devices. So if you’ve bought a phone and you register for an extended warranty, everything — from hardware malfunctions to unintentional physical damages — will be covered.
In instances where a device is damaged beyond repair, they hand it off to a recycling partner that responsibly prevents it from turning into non-biodegradable waste. They are even tying up with an NGO to plant a tree for every device they sell. And when the tree is planted, the buyer of the corresponding device will be mailed a picture of it.
The only obstacle in the way — albeit one that’s now withering — is the perceived repulsion against refurbished or unboxed devices. For some, the cheaper price paired with a reliable warranty is good enough to sway their decision towards a new device. Chaturvedi feels the real boost in adoption of these devices will come with youngsters considering eco-friendly devices cool. By adopting these phones, phones that would have otherwise ended up in landfills, buyers can do their tiny bit for the environment and that is definitely cooler than a shiny new iPhone.