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GameStop was originally a software and video games retailer, it now offers a highly developed buy, sell, trade program which creates value for customers while recycling products no longer being played. GameStop has expanded their refurbishing and recycling model beyond games consoles.
Although GameStop was originally a software/video games retailer, the buy-sell-trade model has become a core aspect of its activities. They now even consider their expertise to lie more in this competence than in the product itself. “We could trade shoes if we wanted to”, claims Paul Raines, the CEO of GameStop. Originally mostly focusing on video games and consoles, GameStop has recently started expanding their refurbishing and recycling model to other kinds of electronics as well, as for example Android and iOS devices, responding thereby to requests from their customers.
The devices are refurbished or remanufactured in an 182,000 square foot facility (the Refurbishment Operations Center or ROC), located just 2 miles away from the headquarters and employing 1,100 people. One of their main challenges lies in the fact that for every new device they decide to refurbish, they need to figure out how to reverse-engineer it in the most cost-effective way, without any guidance from the manufacturing companies.
We’re a company that has a real strong skill set around buy / sell / trade, and in fact, we’re the largest refurbisher and recycler of electronics in the world.
Quality assurance is an important stage of the refurbishing process, involving 85 of the employees. The goal is to return the products to their original factory condition, not upgraded or downgraded. When necessary they also erase all data on the devices through an in-depth process, for example over-writing several times or hex-coding code.
Products that cannot be refurbished are either dismantled for parts or destroyed and then recycled. This concerns about 15% of consoles that come through the ROC and amounted to more than 3 million pounds of electronic waste recycled in 2011. The plant is also used as a manufacturing centre and an idea-incubator (e.g. building GameStop’s wireless Bluetooth controller for Android games).