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Swappie: How to win consumer confidence with a local hero

In partnership with PostNL

What began as a two-man business in Finland grew over the course of seven years to become a scale-up in 12 countries: Swappie. The company buys  second-hand mobile phones, refurbishes them and then resells them.

The greatest obstacle for international e-commerce growth has turned out to be consumer confidence. Or rather a lack thereof. Country Manager for the Benelux, Martine Hardeveld Kleuver, explains how Swappie has overcome this hurdle when they decided to scale their business to the Benelux markets:


Mistrust of quality

Martine Hardeveld Kleuver shares:

We want consumers to always consider refurbished as an option, that it becomes mainstream. This requires that phones are available, affordable and of good quality. The latter is often a problem in the market. It became clear that consumers were being held back by a mistrust in the  quality of the phones. That’s understandable, since you have lots of people doing the same thing with different standards. Then you have us. We guarantee that the phones are of good quality and this is ensured by our own factories


Perfect condition inside and out 

This is part of what makes Swappie unique. The company has two factories, one in Finland and one in Estonia, where they personally train the experts who are responsible for solving any problems with the phones purchased. The phones are completely reliable, cheaper - and better for the environment.

And the latter is particularly important to the younger generation, who are glad to be helping the environment at the same time or they are specifically interested in a refurbished mobile  phone for environmental reasons and the affordable price is a nice bonus.


A reliable partner for a reliable image 

But the quality product was not enough.

How do you then boost consumer confidence? By choosing a ‘local hero’ it turns out.

Martine Hardeveld Kleuver laughs:

As a delivery partner, customers in the Benelux wanted PostNL and customer service wanted PostNL, and I also wanted PostNL. The moment we started offering this as a delivery option, we immediately saw that consumers were more inclined to go through with their order. People do not have a lot of confidence in refurbished electronics, so having such a reliable company as PostNL as the  sender is extremely important. This gave our image a real boost.


Insight tips from Swappie

Martine Hardeveld Kleuver ends our conversation by sharing these insights into market expansion:

Consider working together with local businesses. This will cut costs, improve  efficiency and really appeal to local customers. You need to build trust,  especially if you have a new product. If you work together with partners who  have already earned such trust, you also benefit from that.


Thanks to Swappie and PostNL for sharing this case story, and for putting focus on exactly how important localisation is when you decide to bring your business abroad!


This is the latest story in our series where 50+ top e-commerce professionals share their learnings on market expansion tactics, localisation and technology across markets with our learning community. Check out the full collection for more tips. 


Lotte Andkjær Christensen

Lotte, the Head of Product & Marketing at MakesYouLocal, excels in the e-commerce sector. Lotte’s passionate about creating products that resonate with audiences and drive growth. Her expertise spans product development, market research, and innovation, making her a critical asset in helping brands succeed abroad.


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