Video gamers with large collections know there are some used games that simply won't sell. Maybe they're for an old console. Maybe it's a sports title released in 2005. It doesn't matter to Decluttr, which will buy any CD, DVD or video game from anyone.
As profiled by Fast Company, Decluttr makes some eye-popping profit margins and pulled in more than $150 million in revenue last year buying up stuff that no one wants.
The secret seems to be in Decluttr's approach to the reseller: by accepting someone's entire collection, even the discs that will not move, they'll be likely to find some nugget of gold that can be resold for a good price.
"The first CD you scan in may be another 'Jagged Little Pill [by Alannis Morissette].' If we say we're not going to buy it, you may give up," Decluttr's U.S. president, Brett Lauter, told Fast Company. "We just lost you. So we're going to give you the minimum, 50 cents, because maybe your second one is Green Day's 'Insomniac,' and oh my gosh, this will sell quickly."
What Decluttr pays is determined by an algorithm based on how much of a title it has in its warehouse, what the item is going for on Amazon or eBay, and how fast that sells. Decluttr not only pays for the discs, it pays for the postage to be shipped to their facility and, when resold, will buff the discs and put them in a new jewel case if necessary.
The catch to the reseller is the disc case has to be complete — the case, the album booklet and/or instruction manual and, of course, the disc. They also need to sell at least 10 items, but there's no maximum. The company's web site is here, but the easiest way to use the service is to download a mobile app that scans the barcode on the back of the case.
The U.S. expansion of Decluttr, which began in the U.K. in 2007, is already buying 10,000 items a day. (In the U.K., it receives 100,000 items every day.) To take care of that kind of massive stock, it's launching a wholesaling business to sell repackaged discs to discount stores and mom-and-pop shops.