The need for businesses and consumers to act more sustainably, allied to growing interest in the circular economy, are creating a thriving market for used technology products. In last month’s issue, we explained how Tech Data was encouraging partners to use its trade-in services to incentivise mobile phone sales. Here, we look at a rival solution that targets end users directly
At the end of last year, Doji launched a ‘next-generation’ marketplace for used mobile phones and secured $3.8 million in seed funding from Brazilian venture capital firm Canary and other investors. Founded in January 2020 by entrepreneurs and investors Bilal Khan, Fernando Montera Filho and Satyen Fakey, who met on a Masters programme at the University of Oxford, the London headquartered start-up aims to disrupt the market for used tech products. In this Q&A, co-founder Bilal Khan tells us more about the platform and why it has the potential to benefit buyers and sellers of used technology products, as well as the planet.
Technology Reseller (TR): What is Doji?
Bilal Khan (BK): Doji is the only online marketplace that uses a trading platform to let people buy and sell used tech products. Similar to the proven stock exchange model, the platform uses realtime market information to give users a frictionless buying and selling experience with none of the inefficiencies associated with other marketplaces for used goods.
TR: What is the main drawback of existing solutions?
BK: To date, both buyers and sellers of used goods have been forced to settle for less value than they originally expected to receive. In fact, approximately 80% of UK consumers choose not to sell their used mobile phones, either because prices are too low or because selling is too time-consuming.
Doji aims to unlock latent supply and demand for used tech products and release the economic and environmental value trapped in them by revamping traditional e-commerce through the application of data science and proven business models to the benefit of buyers, sellers and the planet.
TR: How does the Doji platform work?
BK: Sellers list used goods using a combination of preset product profiles and pictures and by answering a few questions to determine the appropriate quality grade. They can then set an asking price for the product or choose to be matched instantly with the highest bidder for an immediate sale. Shipping is via Doji’s nationwide logistics partner.
Buyers always see the lowest price for their searched item and can set their own desired buy price by making an offer (placing a bid). This logs their bid anonymously in a transparent order book and gives them the flexibility to buy at a price and a time that suits them.
On the Product Pages are the Buy Now prices, the latest Bid and Ask prices (updated in real-time), as well as Buy prices from other platforms – to help the individual decide what price to buy or sell at.
TR: How will Doji help drive the sustainability agenda?
BK: Every year consumers and businesses throw out millions of tech devices, including mobile phones. These either end up in landfill and pollute the environment or get dropped in a drawer and forgotten about. It is estimated that 55 million phones with a combined value of £16.5bn are lying dormant in UK homes.
To date, attempts to champion the circular economy by empowering people to make smarter buying and selling decisions have been hampered by lack of information about the value of used products and what consumers should be prepared to pay or receive for them.
Unlike traditional commodities, such as coffee or sugar, the gap between the buy and sell prices of these items is extreme, hurting consumers and discouraging supply/demand and sustainable purchasing decisions.
Existing marketplaces don’t offer realtime, transparent data or the ability to alter prices dynamically. Throw in a disjointed consumer journey and fragmentation of supply and demand, with manufacturer trade-in programs, wholesale distributors, traditional e-commerce platforms, even local shops sitting as intermediaries, and it is easy to see why it has been difficult for consumers to receive value and pursue actions that drive sustainability.
At Doji, we are determined to put users in control and make it simple and lucrative for them to pursue the sustainable buying and selling of used consumer products at the fairest prices.
TR: How does Doji’s use of data science help buyers and sellers?
BK: Doji’s machine learning algorithms use millions of data points including public and proprietary data to aid users in placing more assertive bids and asks. They also estimate the ‘time to match’ so that sellers can achieve the right balance between price point and time to sell.
TR: Is Doji limited to mobile phones or can it be used to buy and sell other products?
BK: Doji is designed to be a global and multi-category business. However, to start with we are launching in the UK with used mobile phones as our first product category.
With billions of pounds worth of used mobile phones wasting away in household drawers, there is clearly a need for a platform like Doji that enables sellers to optimise the value of used goods and extend their lifecycle.
Given that a new phone can cost £1,000 and a 1- or 2-year-old device with largely the same functionality is available for 30%-50% less, there is a strong financial case for buying a used phone, before you even consider the environmental benefits.
The market for used mobile phones is currently growing three times faster than the market for new ones and we believe the used tech goods market will continue to accelerate in 2022. Our focus at Doji is to encourage this growth by providing buyers and sellers with an effortless end-to-end process.