Close the Gap Between the Purchase and Ownership of a Product to Build Lasting Customer Relationships
It’s a great day for a merchant when a shopper decides to make a purchase. Not only have they made a sale, but they’ve also created an opportunity for a lasting customer relationship.
But to build a successful customer relationship, retailers and brands must remember that their job doesn’t end with a transaction. The customer relationship continues past the point of sale, with its longevity depending on the experience that's provided throughout the life of the purchase and beyond. If customers have an enjoyable post-purchase experience, they’re more likely to return.
However, customers often find that the post-purchase experience is either nonexistent or that it comes with unnecessary registration processes, difficult-to-navigate warranty information, and lengthy and confusing claims experiences should a product malfunction or break. Merchants can close the gap between the experience of purchasing and owning a product by creating product lifecycle programs that encompass single-step product registration, dynamic and flexible claims management, and easy extended product warranties.
Single-Step Product Registration
More than 75 percent of consumers in the U.S. have changed their shopping behaviors due to the pandemic. As shoppers look for and try out new brands, it’s important for merchants to develop and maintain a relationship with customers for future loyalty opportunities. Whether ramping up third-party channel sales or building a direct-to-consumer (D-to-C) e-commerce offering, retailers and brands are seeking direct relationships with shoppers to influence future sales and retention rates.
Product registration is a valuable way for merchants to build these relationships. To register products, consumers verify their purchase by providing key product and contact information. Merchants can incentivize customers to provide their information by ensuring that each customer, no matter the purchase channel, can quickly and effortlessly register their products in a single step.
Once retailers and brands have this information, they can offer a range of benefits, from product support and customized promotions to claims management and exclusive brand experiences. In using this information, merchants should always ensure they’re complying with data privacy regulations and laws.
Easy Extended Product Warranties
Warranty is a broad term that encompasses many aspects of protection plans. Most people are familiar with limited warranties, otherwise known as a manufacturer’s warranty. These typically provide coverage for at least one year, and are provided with each product by the manufacturer or seller. Going one step further, extended product warranties, or extended service contracts (ESC), increase the terms of the limited warranty, often with additional coverage such as protection against accidental damage from handling.
Brands and retailers can easily offer extended product warranties to drive revenue. At the same time, shoppers are met with an unbeatable experience and can have peace of mind knowing that their purchases are protected for years to come.
Dynamic and Flexible Claims Management
When a customer discovers that they have a problem with an item they purchased, the last thing they want to do is spend hours on the phone with customer support to find the right order number, explain the issue, and wait days to hear back about a resolution.
To prevent this from happening, merchants must ensure they have an instantaneous, unified claims and resolutions process that will wow customers with simplicity and ease, while addressing the issue at hand. This begins with the product registration process above but doesn’t end there. Quick and efficient claims resolution is key to ensuring a frictionless process and should meet the following requirements:
- Transparent: The terms must be clear and customized per category based on the benefits of a specific SKU.
- Fast: It should only take a couple of minutes to resolve a customer’s problem.
- Frictionless: Customers should have a stress-free experience throughout the whole process.
A Unified Product Lifecycle Program Can Help Retailers and Brands Retain Customers
All in all, a consistent and unified process for product registrations, extended product warranties and claims management is necessary to make the post-purchase experience easy and enjoyable throughout the life of the product. By offering end-to-end product lifecycle programs, merchants can build retention loops that drive customers from every channel to return — creating strong customer relationships and lasting brand loyalty.
Brandon Gell is the founder and CEO of Clyde, a product lifecycle platform that helps merchants maximize the longevity of their customer relationships, and enables customers to unlock the full value of the products they buy.
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Brandon Gell is the CEO and co-founder of Clyde, a product lifecycle platform that helps merchants maximize the longevity of their customer relationships, and enables customers to unlock the full value of the products they buy. The idea was born out of Brandon's own frustrating experience in attempting to offer customers extended warranties directly during his time at a 3D scanner manufacturer. Brandon was a Venture for America fellow, where he focused on design and management, and holds a BA in Architecture from Middlebury College.