If you want to build customer trust in your brand, offering a warranty is a great opportunity to show that you stand behind your products.
A warranty is essentially a service contract that promises to repair or replace the product if a warranty claim is made within a set time period due to a defect. Warranties offer consumer protection to ensure that the value of their purchase is protected.
How do warranties work?
Manufacturer warranty law is governed by the Uniform Commercial Code (U.C.C.), and mandates that every product sold in the United States (with the exception of Louisiana, which has its own state law) must be free of defects upon purchase and for a certain period of time thereafter—the standard period is four years, though it can vary based on the type of product.
If a retailer has not developed a written warranty, or “express warranty,” that specifically sets out the terms of the service contract, they are subject to an “implied warranty” that grants the shopper the right to get a repair or replacement if the defect occurs within a certain time period. Items are eligible for warranty repair or replacement if they have defects out of the box, or if they do not meet their “warranty of fitness”—i.e., a ride-on car toy that breaks with 100 pounds of weight, even if it was advertised to carry up to 120 pounds.
However, most retailers or manufacturers of higher-value products tend to offer written warranties that clearly lay out the terms of the service contract, which may include a limited warranty for certain components of the product and an extended warranty for other parts. This helps give your shoppers peace of mind around their purchases and lets them know what consumer protections they’re eligible for.
Common types of warranties
Both retailers and manufacturers can offer product warranties.
Some retailers offer generous warranties on all of the brands they carry, with a promise to stand behind their quality. L.L. Bean, for example, offers a lifetime warranty on products that are defective, and offers a generous year-long return period for dissatisfaction for any reason.
Some brands offer different warranty terms for different product lines. Blendtec, for instance, offers a one-year warranty for refurbished blenders, a two-year warranty on classic and total blenders, an eight-year warranty on designer blenders, and a 10-year warranty on Pro 800 blenders. These warranties are only available on purchases made from the Blendtec site or from the brand’s authorized retailers.
In many cases, shoppers are also given the option to purchase an extended warranty on a product, which extends the period of time that repairs will be covered.
However, on both limited warranties and extended warranties, it’s important to note that there will be some exclusions on what’s covered under warranty. Additionally, if a product is used or disassembled in a way that isn’t recommended, a shopper may inadvertently void their product warranty.
How to optimize your warranty return process
If you sell products that are eligible for warranty returns, it’s important to collect the necessary details from your customer to determine if the warranty claim is valid and determine the next steps. In some cases, you may ask the customer to return the faulty item so that it can be repaired; in others, you may simply write off the loss and send them a replacement. These decisions will depend on the issue with the product and the value of the item, as well as the costs involved in the reverse logistics process.
Determining the process for every warranty claim on an individual basis can be a time-consuming process that can pull your customer support team away from more important tasks. Instead, you can optimize and automate the product warranty claim process by using a returns management tool like Loop.
By leveraging a best-in-class returns management solution, you can empower shoppers to set up their own warranty returns through a self-service dashboard. When they log in, they’ll see which of their products are eligible for a warranty claim, and what the terms of the product warranty are.
From there, they’ll be asked a series of multiple-choice questions about the reason for the warranty claim request, and whether they’d like a replacement or a refund. If more information is required, they can be routed to a customer support agent, but the majority of shoppers should be able to complete their warranty claim through the dashboard within seconds.
Of course, Loop also processes other types of returns, too – so no matter what kind of support with returns your shoppers are seeking, you’ll be able to give them the answers they need effortlessly.
Turning warranty returns into exchanges
When it comes to defective products, some shoppers will simply decide to seek a refund, rather than asking for a repair or a replacement—which results in lost profits and the end of an important customer relationship.
Loop’s platform helps you preserve the customer relationship, by providing shoppers with a menu of options for how to manage their warranty return. The item can be repaired or replaced free of charge if it is within the warranty period, or returned for a full refund—or the shopper can exchange the item for any other item from your store. Some retailers even offer “bonus credit” to put towards a new purchase as an incentive to select a new product rather than losing the customer.
Customer retention costs far less than new customer acquisition, so by promoting alternative methods to retain your customers and encourage them to check out your offerings, you can significantly increase your customer lifetime value.
Want to learn how Loop can make the warranty return process effortless, and help you lower your refund rate? Book a demo today.