It can take a lot of work to convince a potential customer to buy your product. Not only do they have to believe that the product you’re selling is what they’re looking for to solve a need (or maybe only a want!), but they also have to trust that the product they’re getting from you will arrive…and work!
If you’re an Ecommerce brand selling products with a price above the $100+ mark, it can be scary for a customer to trust that they should drop that much cash on your store. Sure, they saw a fancy ad on Instagram, and they’ve checked out some of the reviews from other customers, but it can still be nerve-wracking to hope that the product comes as promised and that it lasts!
Every Ecommerce brand knows that these are very real concerns. Who hasn’t dealt with a QA issue along the way of building a business? Maybe a product has started arriving broken right out of the box, or it’s stopped working after a few uses for a large chunk of customers, or maybe a batch of inventory suddenly didn’t last a full year (despite the claims on your site that it does!). All of these things are real issues that can happen and that need to be dealt with internally. And while you may be handling these issues on the backend to prevent them from happening again, you suddenly have a bunch of customers who have had a previous bad experience with your brand (a brand that they shelled out a lot of money to!) So, how do you handle it?
Pull the Product
As soon as you know something is wrong in your supply chain, your fulfilment, or with the product itself, you must act. Make the product unavailable to purchase — even if it’s just for a short time so that you’re not bringing more customers that’ll have this same negative experience.
You can even put a product on “pre-order” to allow customers to still purchase (and so you can collect $$$), but warn them that they may not get the product right away. And hey, if you solve the issue quickly, the customers who pre-ordered will be surprised and delighted to know that they’re getting the product sooner than they expected.
You most likely heard about these QA issues from not one, but many of your customers who’ve emailed/chatted in to complain, which means you now have a whole group of customers who are mad that the product they bought is unusable and that they want a refund.
Sure you can offer these customers a refund, but if you sell a product that is non-consumable with a consumable addition (i.e., an electric toothbrush with additional heads, a skincare wand with a corresponding serum, an exercise machine with a companion app and membership subscription), refunding them not only means losing out on this single sale, but losing out on recurring revenue.
Try offering a replacement (free of charge, of course) with a bonus discount to be applied to those consumable paired products (or throw in a freebie, too). Make sure that while you’re offering this replacement, you’re owning up to the mistake (did you read the April 1st DTCX newsletter? There are some tips in there!) and explaining how you’ve remedied the situation so it won’t happen with their replacement product. If they still stress they want a refund, well, at least you tried to save them!
PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
If it happened once, despite all of your hard work, this issue could happen again. So while you’ve done a great job handling the situation this time (because you read this blog), it probably took a lot of manpower to handle.
Luckily, like all Ecommerce issues, there are Ecommerce solutions! Ecommerce Insurance.
Apps like Mulberry and Clyde provide simple and easy ways for your customers to feel confident that the products they’re buying will work or get replaced without any issue.
How do these apps work? When a customer is checking out, your site will offer them the opportunity to purchase an insurance add-on (for a very low cost, usually) that’ll ensure a replacement if the product breaks. Customers can purchase a $500 product from your store knowing that an extra $10 or $15 will ensure that if anything goes wrong, they’ll be covered. Better yet, you as the brand are covered, as these apps work directly with insurance providers who cover the costs of the replacement. The processing fee you pay on each insurance package sold covers these costs.
On top of providing peace of mind for your customers, you’re also developing an additional revenue stream! Some of these apps allow you to add margin to the protection plan products so that any time a customer purchases it, you get some off the top.
As a bonus, a lot of these insurance apps offer seamless, customer-centric dashboards where the customer is in full control of their insurance claims and replacements. Instead of having to deal with each customer complaint, they can go straight to the app dashboard and process their own claim. So while your customer service team (in-house or outsourced) is still available to help with any issues your customers may experience, the self-service platform definitely reduces the customer service manpower required!
Bonus: Clyde now offers a Registration product that allows you to collect the 1st party data of your customers from offline / Amazon / eBay / Third-Party selling channels. You can insert a card with a code into the product’s package that asks the customer to register their product on your site. This way, they can prove they bought it and you can own the customers you may never have had access to otherwise!
It’s important to note that not all types of Ecommerce products are eligible for apps like Clyde or Mulberry, but that doesn’t mean you can’t offer your own warranty product and customer flow. Instead, you could try adding a “coverage product” and encourage your customers to add it to cart. If they bought it and come back with issues, you’ll see the product in their order history and be able to send them a replacement with no questions asked. While this method won’t provide the same seamless experience that some of these apps do, it’s another way to increase customer trust and satisfaction.
Have you tried an insurance app or built an insurance product into your Ecommerce strategy? Tell us more on the DTCX Facebook group!
This article was written by Jess Grossman, contributing writer to DTCX and Founder & CEO of In Social.