With the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus coming out this week, everyone’s got iPhones on their minds. Including me. In fact, I just bought two iPhones for my parents who will be upgrading to smartphones for the first time and moving to a much more affordable prepaid cellphone plan (more on this in a future post). In order to offer rock bottom prices, prepaid carriers don’t subsidize smartphone purchases, unmasking the illusion that new iPhones start at $200 a piece when the truth is that their TRUE costs are $650 and up! So we’re dealing with big bucks here to acquire an iPhone to use with a prepaid carrier. You know how we feel about paying full price for stuff, so we set out looking for another option.

My parents were comfortable with something in the $300 range and so I started hunting online. The iPhone 5s recently got a price cut with the arrival of the 6’s, but were still going for $549 a pop on the Apple website. (A whopping $599.78 after tax!) But in the end I ended up getting a 16GB iPhone 5s in excellent condition for each of my parents at $321.23 and $318.23 (out the door prices)—nearly HALF the price of getting it from Apple and still cheaper than Amazon or eBay.

How? Where?

Glyding In

Glyde is an online marketplace for consumer-to-consumer sale of electronics. (They have available iPhones, Android phones, tablets, eReaders, iPods, video games, accessories and more.) They’re not exactly an online store where they hold inventory and ship them to you, yet neither are they exactly like eBay or Craigslist where individuals list their own stuff for auction or sale. They’re trying to blend the best of both worlds into one service.

Here are some of the key points about how they work:

For Buyers

  • Cheaper rates – Because they eliminate some of the overhead, it means lower prices for you. Sometimes the product is as much as 90% off. In my research, even Amazon Marketplace and eBay don’t come close to their prices.
  • ReturnsGlyde gives a 2-day period for buyers to check out their purchase and if for whatever reason they aren’t satisfied, they can return it for a full refund.  This is shorter than some retailers, but better than most peer-to-peer sales where there are no returns.
  • Insurance Glyde assumes the risk that the buyer usually has to bear in most online peer-to-peer transactions. They will manage the returns for you (no restock fee!) if the product isn’t what you expected and even insure the product if it gets lost in the mail.
  • Customer ServiceGlyde can provide help and assistance if you have any questions during the process, without having to wonder if a seller will return your emails in other online transactions.
  • Slower Shipment – Because Glyde has to first ship a shipping container to the seller, before it gets shipped to you, the shipment can be slow and there’s no way to expedite it. This could be a real deal breaker if you’re in a hurry, especially in the age of Amazon Prime.
  • No Direct Seller Contact – Sometimes you may wish to get more details on a specific product, but you don’t have the option to contact the seller directly. Glyde banks that their lower prices and returns policy can mitigate some of this risk.
  • Growing Selection – It’s not Amazon by a long shot, but there are a fair number of products to choose from. In watching it for a few days, there seems to be a fair bit of inventory movement in and out which is a good sign.

For Sellers

  • Simple Listing – The listing process is very simple. You select your price, choose from the preset quality settings, give your personal information, and you’re done. No long product descriptions to write (they auto-fill this for you), no photos to take (they post a stock image), and they make the product pages look pretty. These things make it more likely for people to buy.
  • You Set the Price – You can determine the price that you want to sell your product at. The lower the cost, the faster it will sell.
  • Direct to CustomerGlyde manages the process so you don’t have to manage an ecommerce store or page, but yet you still get the convenience of just using a pre-addressed shipping container they provide and dropping it in the mail.
  • Better Rates than Trade-ins – You will get much more for your phone than if you traded it in to some place like Gazelle or Amazon Trade-in, with minimally more work. These are the services that Glyde is competing against. If you don’t mind the extra work of listing your phone yourself on eBay or Craigslist or Amazon Marketplace, you’ll likely get higher earnings there.
  • Insured Against LossGlyde will even insure the seller against loss if the shipment is lost in transit. That’s a nice touch.
  • Get Paid Easily – Sellers get paid after the buyer’s 2-day evaluation period. It comes in the form of a credit to your Glyde account which you can use for other Glyde purchases or transfer as cash to your bank. (No transfer fees.)
  • Their Cut Glyde makes money by taking a percentage cut (figured on a graduated scale) out of your sale. This cut will probably be more than some places and lower than others, depending on what you’re selling.

Ready to Glyde?

I am intrigued by the business model of this company. They’re really trying to smooth out many of the pain points of ecommerce by trying to offer ease and convenience along with greater peace of mind through the process for both buyers and sellers. So far the experience has been exceptionally pleasant for me, but I’ll report back if there are any problems that would alter my perspective.

If you’re interested in trying Glyde out whether to sell an old gadget or to buy one, the links to Glyde on this page are referral links so we will get a bonus if you make a purchase. Thanks in advance if you choose to click through!