Hello Retail-minded friends! Happy Thursday!
Today we are going to talk about the every necessary, but often forgotten, after-sale support. The most obvious concern of manufacturers and entrepreneurs is actually getting their product in stores, but what about what comes after that? For those who think that it is as simple as shipping your product to a store and then being done, you are sorely mistaken. There are a variety of procedures and requirements post shipment. However, the extent of after-sale support can differ dramatically, ranging from the occasional phone call to daily visits to the retail store you are in business with.
So, what are some of the most common types of after-sale support? Today, we are going to discuss a few of the most frequently encountered types of after-sale support.
1. Manufacturer Warranties
Chances are, a large reason that a retailer has decided to stock your product is because of their perceived quality of your product. However, defects are almost inevitable, which is where a manufacturer warranty comes in. First, you must assess which costs more: Replacing the product entirely, or fixing it. This will help you determine the type of warranty that you want to implement. It is like they say: Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. A warranty can certainly help you do this.
2. Customer Returns
Now it may seem like the end of the line is the retailer, but really, the end of the line is the consumer, or the person who is purchasing your product, and they hold the right to return your product if they are in any way unsatisfied. You must decide if you want customers to directly report complaints and returns to you, or whether you want the returns to be processed through your retailer. It is also important to establish a return policy and determine if you want a customer care phone number, or if you will just provide this service at an “at need” basis.
3. Product Recall Procedure
Obviously, a recall is very serious and should not be wished upon any vendor. It can seriously damage your image with customers and retailers. You should have a procedure in case of a recall which addresses handling of potential lawsuits, replacement procedures, insurance policies, and various other aspects. How you plan to communicate with retailers and customers should also be addressed.
Why is training so important, you might ask? Staff in retail stores is ever changing, rarely retaining staff for long periods of time. Due to this, this means that training of staff members is constantly being performed. Those associates responsible for your selling your product will almost definitely be constantly changing, and therefore will constantly need to be retrained. This can negatively affect you however, because it costs money to train sales associates. This is another cost to consider and factor in when pricing your product. If you do not, it can seriously affect profit. Possible solutions could be outsourcing this training to professionals of your choosing or even doing the training yourself!
5. Excess Inventory
Excess inventory is never good. It is an additional expense, no matter how large or small the excess. As time goes on, the profitability of a product is decreased, so as you can image, the longer a store holds your inventory, the less it is worth. Depreciation at its best. Often times, you will be held responsible for managing your inventory. There are, however, a variety of ways to deal with that unwanted excess inventory. Holding a promotion is one way. It incentivizes the purchase of the product, making consumers believe they are scoring a deal, which they probably are if you have a great quality product! Markdown money help retailers reduce the price of your product so they can focus their efforts on getting your product sold, whether that be through an advertisement of promotion. Lastly, you can offer to take back the inventory, though this is the least beneficial to you. However, it does prove that you are considerate towards your retailer.
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