Mr Retail: Juggling Warranty Items During Shortages

share on:
Fulfilling Warranty During Shortages

By Mr Retail

At this point, all of us have realized there is a new reality when it comes to sourcing inventory. I sincerely go home some days and say to myself, “I was way too excited today to see those 4 items come in”…lol. It is pretty safe to say that as a collective industry we are learning to sell what we have in inventory or what we can source. While I don’t like it anymore than you, quite simply, it became adapt or die.

Now, this leads us to defects and warranty items. You may have already run into a situation where a client comes back with a warranty claim and it is an item you would normally swap for the client. But you don’t have the product in stock and the vendor has no eta. So, maybe you go looking to see if anyone has one you can buy and you will deal with the defect with the vendor. You may be in this situation right now.

So, is there anything we can do to help mitigate the situation? Well, as much as I hate to say this, you may want to consider holding back some inventory to deal with warranty items. I think this is important on things like radio interfaces and other data modules, especially on the ones you can program. As much as I want to sell every last piece of inventory, imagine the fallout that can happen from one client who bought a several thousand dollar job from you, when you can’t honor a warranty on a $200 part. In our store, we have made the conscious decision to always keep a “spare item” of critical parts.

And while I REALLY hate to say this about radios, it might make sense to keep at least the display model on your wall in case you need it to handle a DOA or warranty item at some point. When we finally get to the backside of this, you can revisit your policies here. We had a client in recently with what we thought was a radio issue and when we found out it was something in the vehicle that we could fix, whoa, was that a good feeling. Sounds weird, huh? It was because I know that this particular radio was on eternal backorder and I had zero of them in stock.

If we go back to the beginning of the pandemic, there were many times that we ended up upgrading a client to a better product when we had a DOA as we had no alternative. Sometimes the client would take the better product and pay the difference at retail, the difference at our cost, or sometimes they would not pay anything additional for the better product.  I think we have to be mentally prepared for one of these three scenarios to play out so we can have calm, well thought out responses for our clients. Everyone has experienced product shortages, whether it be at the grocery store, home improvement retailer, appliance store, etc so you aren’t surprising them with this news.

The future of being profitable and having long-term staying power revolves around making decisions like this for your business. I wish you well.

About Mr Retail
Mr Retail will be offering opinions and information on car audio retailing for CEoutlook. He wishes to remain anonymous. He has owned a retail store in this country for over 20 years now. Mr Retail loves what he does and loves the 12 volt industry and is happy to share his hard won expertise.

Want to receive industry news? Sign up here
share on: