Saturday, November 05, 2011

My Theory on How I Got My Phone

There's just something interesting about e-commerce. At this point in time, I've only been exposed to business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce. It is fascinating how online sellers can offer products for much cheaper prices than that of the brick-and-mortar shops.

My first experience of purchasing online was for DVDs and books on Amazon almost a decade ago. At that time, the products I bought weren't cheap but I couldn't get them in Malaysia even after trying to special order them from local bookstores. My subsequent online purchases included clothes, fabric, sewing supplies, phone accessories and lately, my HTC Sensation 4G and a few jelly casings.

After I had committed to paying for the HTC Sensation 4G that I'd bid on, I started wondering how could the seller sell the phone to me (and many others) at a price that was a couple of hundred Ringgits lower than the AP price at other phone shops. Yes, it wasn't the identical HTC Sensation sold in Malaysia, but the T-Mobile version was practically identical with the "added feature" of having 4G capabilities.

My skeptical mind thought that the phone could've been one that was rejected by T-Mobile customers in the US - perhaps due to multiple complaints of the insensitivity of the touchscreen, phantom deathgrip problem or just because they didn't like the phone. However, the phone and the accessories came in sealed packages identical to those seen in photos of an online review, so I kind of ruled that out.

Then I thought the phone might be a counterfeit. But after Googling, I couldn't find any HTC Sensation lookalike on sale. So I deduced that the phone was not popular enough to warrant having a production line of counterfeit lookalikes.

After collecting my phone and using it for over a month, I had forgotten about this puzzling question. Until this week when I was driving to work and heard on BFM an interview with Jeff Hoffman, the former CEO of uBid, Priceline etc. At one point of the interview, it was mentioned that uBid auctions off "distressed inventories" which are excess stock whose potential of being sold at its normal cost has or is about to pass. These 'stock' are not defective but are likely to be rendered outdated by the launching of a new line of products meant to replace/supersede the current range.

To me, it was like a light bulb moment. I had got my possible answer! With the latest release of the HTC Sensation XL and XE, it would be expected that the older Sensation would be "obsolete" to consumers. Although when I bought my Sensation, the XE version had only just been announced in the US and no news at all about the XL. But I'm sure the mobile carriers would have known about this many months earlier and had anticipated the glut. So, what better way than to auction off their distressed inventory to people like me! haha

Anyway, I am very happy with what I have (after stalking it since before it even launched in the US - i.e. more than 6-7 months ago!) although the XE and XL have better features than my iWant. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment