Jul 22, 2022   |   By Authority Magazine

James Wang of Gizmogo On The Supply Chain and The Future Of Retail

Start investing in other revenue streams that may have never been looked at before. I believe that the power of retailers still rests with businesses that are creative and always innovating. There are still opportunities that have yet to be uncovered if we look at things from different perspectives.

Aspart of our series about the future of retail, I had the pleasure of interviewing James Wang, Founder and CEO of Gizmogo.

James Wang, the founder and CEO of Gizmogo, has been operating an electronics recycling business in the United States for 15 years and has a wealth of industry experience and cooperative relationships. He is a serial entrepreneur who started two electronics recycling businesses prior to Gizmogo. He has been in the e-waste recycling market for more than 15 years and has a wealth of industry experience. He founded IQA Metal Inc and Asset Technology Solutions and grew both of them into multi-million dollar companies. James is a visionary in the recycling industry and is determined to solve the global problem of e-waste with Gizmogo, a C2B platform that sells and recycles second-hand electronic devices such as smartphones, laptops, cameras and drones.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Gizmogo was developed out of my desire to address the growing issue of e-waste. Last year alone, consumers threw away more than 63 million tons of electronic devices, but many of them could have been given new life through recycling or refurbishment. I created an online platform to help people sell their obsolete electronic devices in a fast, easy, safe way. This helps lower the number of electronics entering the waste stream, enabling us to conserve resources and feed materials back into the supply chain for new products.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

One story that has stuck with me is of a mom who used the money she received from trading in her old gadgets to buy her family Christmas gifts when money was tight. It’s motivating to not only feel like you’re making a true impact on a global level — by reducing the amount of electronics that go into a landfill — but also on an individual level, by rewarding people for doing the right thing.

Are you working on any new exciting projects now? How do you think that might help people?

273,000 tons of e-waste make it into California landfills each year. Just imagine what that is on a global scale. To that end, our goal is to expand the business to Canada and Mexico in the near future to make an even bigger impact on e-waste in North America.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful, who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Of course without the support of my family and the great team at Gizmogo, none of this would be possible, and I am so grateful for that.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

The primary goal and core value of Gizmogo is to bring awareness to the issue of e-waste and the importance of recycling electronics to minimize our carbon footprint for future generations. The toxins produced when electronics are improperly recycled have scary implications for our health and that of our planet, and it’s a crisis that’s been quickly but quietly manifesting. I truly believe that people want to make a difference, but oftentimes they don’t know where to start, or feel they can’t make much of an impact. Gizmogo empowers people to start turning their good intentions into meaningful actions by starting with small steps like trading in their old gadgets for refurbishment or recycling.

Ok super. Now let’s jump to the main questions of our interview. The Pandemic has changed many aspects of all of our lives. One of them is the fact that so many of us have gotten used to shopping almost exclusively online. Can you share a few examples of different ideas that large retail outlets are implementing to adapt to the new realities created by the Pandemic?

The pandemic forced retailers and many businesses to rethink how people can shop. One example is the curbside pick-up, which most retailers have adopted and are keeping in place. Another is services such as Instacart to deliver goods to customers. The key here is convenience. One of the biggest challenges in combating e-waste is simply getting people to recycle their devices, because they perceive it to be a hassle. Oftentimes they have to bring their used electronics to a store for disposal and even pay to get rid of it, so those old phones or laptops may languish in a drawer for years, or be tossed in the trash. We make the process convenient and rewarding — customers can ship us their devices for free with a prepaid label and box, and receive the maximum value for them in cash within one business day of receipt.

The supply chain crisis is another outgrowth of the pandemic. Can you share a few examples of what retailers are doing to pivot because of the bottlenecks caused by the supply chain crisis?

Initially I think more retailers were forced to really get creative with their marketing to stay lean during the shortage of goods on the shelves. And I think now retailers are probably rethinking replenishment of inventory and keeping a stockpile of certain fast-moving items.

How do you think we should reimagine our supply chain to prevent this from happening again in the future?

We need to be smarter in the way we’re using our limited resources. For example, through recycling electronics we can extend the product lifecycle and alleviate supply chain issues by recapturing valuable resources and products before they’re lost to a landfill. There are metals that can be preserved, recycled and reused from old devices that are no longer used or wanted, like gold, palladium, silver, aluminum, zinc, nickel, copper, iron, tin and lead. By recovering these commodities, we can replace parts from similar devices or repair them altogether, and have less of a need for major electronic companies to produce new models. Furthermore, people are looking for more sustainable and affordable technology solutions for work and home, so promoting refurbished devices helps by lessening the demand for new devices while still keeping people connected with the tech brands they know and love.

In your opinion, will retail stores or malls continue to exist? How would you articulate the role of physical retail spaces at a time when online commerce platforms like Amazon Prime or Instacart can deliver the same day or the next day?

I believe brick-and-mortar stores will still serve a purpose — there’s always going to be a need for people to interact with certain items before they purchase them. Retailers need to create compelling reasons and convenient ways for shoppers to visit stores. For example, more stores have introduced self-serve check out lines that cut back on wait times and get shoppers in and out. Another example are lockers where customers can simply pick up their items. A customer’s experience needs to be easy and expedient, which is why it’s such a focus for Gizmogo.

Amazon is going to exert pressure on all of retail for the foreseeable future. New Direct-To-Consumer companies based in China are emerging that offer prices that are much cheaper than US and European brands. What would you advise to retail companies and e-commerce companies, for them to be successful in the face of such strong competition?

Start investing in other revenue streams that may have never been looked at before. I believe that the power of retailers still rests with businesses that are creative and always innovating. There are still opportunities that have yet to be uncovered if we look at things from different perspectives.

Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a fantastic retail experience that keeps bringing customers back for more? Please share a story or an example for each.

  1. A happy customer is your best asset. When customers feel that their time and money is valued, they’re more likely to become a repeat customer and bring in other customers by word of mouth. Gizmogo incentivizes proper recycling through a program that gives our affiliates 10% of the value of every deal they’ve sent our way.
  2. Give your customers a fair shake. Consumers are savvy, and have limitless information at their fingertips to know whether or not they’re getting a deal. Gizmogo offers a best price guarantee, promising to increase the original offer if we evaluate a phone as being in better condition than was reported to us. If a seller receives a lower price than expected, we can have their device returned free of charge if desired.
  3. Be trustworthy. Our customers never need to worry that their personal information will be compromised. Gizmogo keeps sellers safe by going beyond Department of Justice standards for data protection to wipe devices of any personal identifiable information. Additionally, Gizmogo never gives out information to third parties.
  4. Live up to your own values. A strong company is one that really lives up to its advertised values. In our case, it’s driving environmental stewardship through initiatives that focus on addressing end-of-life handling of technology, like clean-up events in local communities. Or, through donations of refurbished devices that ensure students are equipped for success while furthering Gizmogo’s mission of reducing e-waste by extending the life of devices.
  5. 5. Convenience is king. In today’s fast-paced, tech-driven world, consumers want simplicity and convenience, and are turning to e-commerce more than ever. Gizmogo offers a user-friendly online platform that makes selling used electronics an easy, quick experience.

My particular experience is in the grocery retail industry, and I’m passionate about addressing food deserts and addressing food insecurity. Can you please share a few things that can be done by the retail industry to address the problem of food insecurity?

As a whole, we need to be smarter with resources by being less wasteful with what we have and reusing what we’re able to. Food deserts are just another example where people are contributing to a problem that they don’t even think about.

Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. Here is our final ‘meaty’ question. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

If I could start a movement it would be to help educate people on the importance of recycling and being good stewards of our environment. If we all do our part we can change how people look at our consumables and learn to give back more than we take from our planet.

How can our readers further follow your work?

They can go to Gizmogo.com or follow us on all our social media platforms, including InstagramFacebookYoutube and Tiktok.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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