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Gadget Salvation

On average, U.S. consumers purchase a new cell phone every 18 months. Laptops, tablets, and game consoles are also replaced on a regular basis as newer models are released. While many consumers choose to simply discard electronic items by donating them to e-trash recycling centers, there is an increasing number who prefer to sell them.

Gadget Salvation was founded by Cesar Navarro seven years ago as an online solution for consumers to sell their used electronics. As its name suggests, Gadget Salvation is focused on buying back and refurbishing smartphones, laptops, tablets, game consoles, and other popular electronic gadgets. Like most entrepreneurs, Cesar’s business started with an idea and grew from perseverance and hard work. We recently sat down with Cesar to learn more about his unique business. 

Cesar Navarro, Founder and CEO of Gadget Salvation, shares his small business story with Kabbage

gadgetsalvationIn February 2008, Cesar Navarro was a recent college graduate in Chicago with a full-time job and a desire to become an entrepreneur. With the recession in full swing, Cesar was aware of the financial turmoil and sweeping layoffs that were taking a massive toll on the country’s workforce. However, he also saw a unique opportunity to augment his paycheck by helping his friends and family sell their used laptops.

Initially launching Gadget Salvation as an after-hours, part-time hobby, Cesar quickly discovered that his business idea had substantial, money-making potential. Because of the tough economic times, he was generating many new cash-strapped customers via word-of-mouth.

Although his business was competing against much bigger eCommerce providers including eBay, Cesar stayed steadfastly focused on offering a full-service, simplified alternative approach to selling electronics that put money quickly into the hands of his customers. His unique selling proposition was a hit, and soon he was trading a wide range of electronics with customers nationwide.

“It might not have been the best time for most people to start a business, but it worked out for us. Gadget Salvation, in some ways, was driven by the recession, as well as by the increasing use of electronic devices.”

Within two years, Cesar had a small but dedicated team of employees and was selling predominately smartphones, along with the first generation of iPads and tablets that were beginning to hit the market. He also continued to sell laptops and game consoles to new and existing customers who appreciated his customer service and fair payments.

With steady income being generated from Gadget Salvation, Cesar wanted to take his business to the next level. In 2012, he launched an improved website to assist users through the selling process, including obtaining free printable shipping labels to mail back their e-goods for sale. Search engine optimization (SEO) was the next task to increase website traffic.

Cesar and his team educated themselves about SEO and created content, including blog posts with specific keywords, to improve search engine rankings. They also knew that outside links back to the Gadget Salvation site were necessary for introducing others to the business. To accomplish this, they launched active social media channels and promoted newsworthy information about the company via press releases that were distributed widely online.

This led to Gadget Salvation’s content catching the eye of a writer with CNET, a leading tech product review site, who wrote a glowing review of the online service. Within two weeks of the review being published, Gadget Salvation’s site traffic doubled.

Currently, Cesar is focused on integrating an eBay application programming interface (API) into the company website. This will enable customers to search for the current market value of any electronic based on data from eBay calculations on current quotes.

Cesar’s advice to other small business owners:

“Perseverance is very important for every small business owner. Our success increased over a period of years. Meanwhile, we continued to evolve to meet the changing needs of our customers. We didn’t stay locked into trading one type of electronic device. Instead, we listened closely to what our customers wanted and adapted our services for them.”  

Kabbage Takeaway: Cesar clearly demonstrates that businesses can succeed, and even grow, during tough economic times. Being adaptable and open to change is necessary to offer ongoing value to your customers. When Gadget Salvation first launched, smartphones and tablets were in their infancy. Now, they are commonplace items that customers want to buy and sell. Cesar was able to transition his business to cater to customers selling these devices, and will continue to stay current with trends in the electronics industry.

Likewise, he is staying on top of the latest methods of marketing his business. After finding tremendous success with search engine optimization, he is seeking out new ways to increase exposure of the Gadget Salvation brand while providing new services and features for his customers. Like Cesar, any business owner can benefit from experimenting with new marketing strategies to grow their business.

Did you launch your business during tough economic times? Tell us your story in the comment section below.


Kabbage Team

Kabbage is here not only to provide access to the small business funding you need, but to also help you grow your business through free marketing tips, webinars, tools and more. Is there something you'd like us to cover or want to get your small business featured on our blog? Send us a note at