Smart phone users are continually being wooed to trade up to the latest version rolled out by Apple or Samsung and the world’s largest retailer is trying to sweeten the deal.
Wal-Mart announced Tuesday (Sept. 10) that consumers can get immediate credit from $50 to $300 applied to the purchase a new smartphone starting Sept. 21, with a two-year contract extension with the wireless provider — ATT, Verizon or Sprint.
This deal also allows consumers to use their trade-in value to join Straight Talk, a prepaid wireless product sold exclusively at Wal-Mart.
"Smartphones have become a part of our customers' everyday lives and as new devices launch more frequently, trade-in programs are becoming more popular,” said Steve Bratspies, executive vice president of general merchandise for Walmart U.S.
"More and more, customers are choosing where they purchase new smartphones based on where they'll get the best value for their trade-ins. Our goal is to give them more value for their old devices and the lowest price for their new one – all part of our promise to be the best destination for wireless.”
Best Buy has been offering a trade-up program of its own for the past couple of years and analysts expect other phone retailers will follow-suit as consumers aren’t necessarily compelled to upgrade their phones as often as the new versions are released.
Cell phone sales have been a bright spot in Wal-Mart’s entertainment division, that otherwise posted negative same-store sales in the recent quarter.
Bill Simon, CEO of Walmart U.S., recently told analysts that Wal-Mart’s performance was pressured by soft sales in electronic, media and gaming. He said while the retailer lost market share in its TV category during the quarter there was a bright spot in wireless sales. He said Wal-Mart is the number one handset retailer in unit share, according to NPD.
Last month Wal-Mart unveiled its “Gadgets to Gift Cards” program that offers consumers the opportunity trade their electronic devices for gift cards. The program accepts a wide range of working and nonworking items such as tablets, smartphones, laptops and cameras, offering a “pay-me-now” option for those consumers who fill out a credit application.