5 Signs It’s Time To Upgrade Your Ecommerce Warranty Process To Grow
Congratulations! Your ecommerce business is growing quickly. Great news, right?
As a business owner, you want to see operations grow. After all, growth leads to profits. We’d all like to see more of those. However, expansion isn’t usually a simple process. Yes, you may receive new sales orders. The question is, are you able to fulfill them?
Growth is a balance between gaining new customers and building processes to support them. You don’t want to find your store in over its head. Business leaders who aren’t mindful of new demands that come with growth can face major problems.
Failing to scale your operations can cause problems in many different areas of your business. You might lack the employees necessary to manage an increased workload. Maybe there isn’t enough physical space in your warehouse for new inventory. And companies can face digital challenges as well. What if your site is overloaded with orders and crashes?
A common issue we see at ReturnLogic occurs when a company fails to scale its warranty process. By introducing new channels, a brand may position itself for a sharp increase in sales. But when the number of warranty claims increases along with those sales, they aren’t always sure how to move forward.
Companies tend to focus on their sales process, shipping logistics, and many other areas before paying much attention to the warranty process. For many, it is an afterthought. However, not including warranty processes in your growth plan is a mistake. Failure to scale your warranty process could result in a backlog of requests that seem impossible to manage. It can also leave you unaware of critical product issues.
Fortunately for retailers, there is automated technology that ensures warranty processes are scalable. Automating basic tasks is a method leading retailers rely on to monitor operations and prepare for growth. Instead of manually processing warranty requests, they turn to advanced workflows.
In automated processes, select customer touchpoints are preprogrammed and sent to the relevant team member as soon as they are triggered. With an automated warranty process, you can free up your customer service and warehouse teams.
When should you update your ecommerce warranty management? Chances are high that your warranty process already needs an upgrade. However, you might not realize it yet. Let’s walk through 5 ways to know it’s time for an upgrade.
1. You’re Scaling Your Store & Sales Channels
Ecommerce businesses often scale up by adding new sales channels. Get ready. Branching into a new sales channel is an exciting step in your company’s history. Selling on platforms like Amazon or Shopify means access to exciting new markets. Entering a new sales channel can also mean increased brand awareness and a rise in sales velocity.
However, increased order volume also means more returns and warranty claims. Will you be ready to handle them? If your business is exploring new sales channels and adding new team members, it’s time to assess your warranty process.
Increasing your staff can be smart, but your new team could be heading into rough waters unless your warranty process is scalable. When a surge of warranty requests arrives, priorities are re-evaluated, and teams can get shuffled. Additional staff members won’t be able to handle new business if they are stuck manually managing warranty touchpoints.
Introducing a new sales channel can be challenging. With an automated warranty process, you can rest assured that staff can manage the wave of orders from your new ecommerce storefront. Automation can be the difference between a smooth expansion and a company-wide slowdown.
Preparing to scale up but failing to grow can also be a frustrating situation. You could be doing everything right to scale your business and still not see the level of sales you need.
Using a data-driven warranty program can provide insights into why your store is not growing. Warranty data helps businesses get to the root cause of prevalent product issues. Without an automated warranty program, it’s possible that issues could continue undetected.
Another detail to consider when considering new sales channels is the availability of warranty data from that channel. Even some major ecommerce sales channels won’t be able to provide metrics related to warranty claims. Upgrading to an automated warranty process ensures that you can still capture this information.
2. You’re Seeing Sharp Increases in Returns & Warranty-Related Support Tickets
From faucets to fitness trackers, sometimes a product doesn’t work the way it should. A certain level of product failure is to be expected. But when you see sharp increases in returns and warranty-related support tickets, it’s time to take a closer look. An increase in the rate at which a product fails is likely a sign to take action.
The source of increased warranty returns could be quality related.
Perhaps a specific camping tent turns out to be less waterproof than advertised. During an unusually rainy camping season, you may see an increase in warranty requests.
When warranties begin to spike, you will want to be able to detect an issue with that tent SKU right away. If you learn about the problem quickly, your team can respond faster.
For example, your executive team can decide to pull affected shipments of tents from the shelves. In addition, management can use that data to investigate other products linked to a manufacturing or sourcing issue.
If you’re dependent on a manual warranty process, it can prevent you from resolving these types of problems as quickly. But what if there are no underlying product issues?
It is also possible that an increase in warranty claims is simply due to increased sales. In either case, an automated approach can help identify the cause. Again, more sales are a positive trend, as long as you can manage them. That’s why you should be proactive and implement an automated warranty process before the warranty request numbers begin to climb.
3. You’re Experiencing Staffing Issues
Nobody likes to see their business understaffed, but it’s a possibility that you should be prepared for. In 2023 skyrocketing labor rates are expected to impact ecommerce, making it difficult for businesses to find available and qualified staff. You might not be having staffing issues currently, but an automated warranty process will help protect against them in the future.
National shifts in the labor market aren’t the only thing that affects staffing levels. Every employee takes time off at some point, and most will leave for other opportunities eventually.
If your manual warranty process depends on a certain staffing level, then even routine time off could become a potential problem. Even worse, some companies may only have a single employee managing warranty requests.
Losing that employee during a single week of vacation could throw your warranty request process and customer communication into disarray. Even worse, if that employee suddenly quits, your warranty process could be gone with them.
Use automated processes to avoid problems brought on by staffing shifts.
An automated warranty solution will allow you to streamline key customer service touchpoints. As a result, your business will process warranty requests more efficiently with fewer staff members. Pre-programmed workflows will keep your customers informed. Shopper profiles will keep track of interactions. And data is collected for each warranty claim that can improve your business further.
On top of that, you can save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually on labor costs. All that extra time and money can then be put into channels and strategies proven to grow your business. Customer service teams will be better able to apply their skills to critical relationship-building activities that will protect profits and build brand confidence.
4. You Don’t Have Enough Information on What’s Driving Warranty Claims
If you feel lost while determining why your warranty claims are occurring, it’s time to upgrade to automated warranty software.
Companies that use a manual warranty process to manage their warranty requests are in the dark. Sure, the customer service teams who manage day-to-day requests can see the details. But they are not typically in a position to take action.
Warehouse teams can assess returned products and determine their condition as well. However, they often lack the time and authority to intervene. For businesses to make meaningful changes, data must be organized and accessible by executive management teams. Only then can organization-wide improvements be made and warranty claims reduced.
An important tool for discovering what’s driving warranty claims is disposition data.
Disposition is the status or condition of merchandise when it is returned for a warranty claim. It’s simple information, but it packs a punch. When analyzed properly, disposition data can transform your operations.
When products arrive at a warehouse, they are assessed for their condition. A warehouse team member then assigns a disposition. For a typical return, this can be the first step toward restocking merchandise. For warranty returns, you know there is a problem with the product. So in these cases, disposition data has a profound effect on your ability to grow. Once your business understands the metrics behind how and why products are defective, it can intervene and mitigate future problems from occurring.
Without a data-driven solution, valuable disposition data is lost. Executives, customer service, and warehouse teams will remain unsure about precisely what is driving warranty claims.
Besides disposition, a data-driven solution can deliver other essential metrics. These include frequency, customer details, and product type. All are useful in determining what’s leading to your warranty claims.
5. You Want a Competitive Edge
How can you update a process in a way your competitor hasn’t figured out yet? It’s a tough race to the top. Business owners must find new and creative ways to innovate. In an uncertain economy, innovative retailers look to operations and supply chains. If you’re trying to find a process to help get ahead, warranty automation is an excellent place to start.
For many businesses, warranty processes are repeatedly overlooked. Executives first examine warehouse management or personnel training before considering a change in how to manage warranty requests. This is a mistake. Updating your warranty process can quickly and easily reduce time and expenses, increase visibility, and give your company a competitive advantage.
Automating your warranty process can give your business the competitive edge needed to win. This is especially true if competitors are still using outdated methods to process warranty claims.
A single spreadsheet filled with years of warranty data is no match for intelligent warranty workflows. An automated warranty process can also outperform those companies relying on a third-party provider. You can be making smart, data-driven decisions while they are bogged down in guesswork. Having programmed customer touchpoints and easily accessible warranty data can be your ecommerce rocket fuel.
An automated warranty process can also enhance customer relationships in a way your competitors might not be capable of. Clear and convenient post-purchase communications build confidence in your brand.
With automation, customers have access to convenient self-service tools. Automated processes are also just faster than manual. Resolving a warranty request quickly will improve your customer’s experience and increase customer lifetime value. Furthermore, customers who benefit from a smooth warranty experience will be more likely to spread the word.
Lastly, an automated process is typically less costly than a manual process. Managing returns, warranties, and third-party warranties in a single solution reduces the costs of running each separately. This puts more money into your pocket while also deepening your relationship with and loyalty from customers.
Warranty Automation Is Your Path to Growth and Profits
If any of the above signs sound familiar, the chances are good that it’s time for a warranty software upgrade.
Maybe your path to growth isn’t clear now. Increased sales? Loyal customers? The perfect product offering? They all play a part. Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed blueprint for success. It’s up to each retailer to determine the right way for their company to succeed.
Whatever the path to growth for your business turns out to be, an automated warranty process will help. It can boost your operations and empower your decision-making.
Regardless of the number of warranty requests you receive each week, automation will make things easier for all customers and members of your team. Shoppers, customer support, warehouse teams, and executives can benefit from automated warranty workflows.
Learn more about how ReturnLogic helps online retailers and ecommerce businesses through automated returns and warranty processes.
Ready to transform the way your team handles returns?
Talk to a returns specialist to see if you’re a good fit!