Warranties can be a path to higher conversions and larger order values

For some brands, like outdoor apparel and gear brand The North Face, warranties are integral to their identities.

“In the early days of The North Face, our corporate mission statement was simply ‘bring the customer back,’” says Carol Shu, senior manager of global sustainability for the brand. “And the thinking was that a satisfied customer was the best way to build our business.”

Shu explains that Kenneth “Hap” Klopp, who bought The North Face two years after its founding in 1966, spearheaded the warranty program in 1968 when he took over the company. In 2000, VF Corp acquired The North Face.

The North Face offers a limited lifetime warranty for defects in materials and workmanship for all its products except footwear. The North Face will repair without charge or replace anything that fails due to a manufacturing defect for products covered under the lifetime warranty

“Over the years, we have received countless stories of how warranty repair has kept some of our most iconic jackets in a family for decades,” Shu says. “We love that these jackets are able to be used time and again while remaining out of landfills. They also carry a strong sentimentality for customers who get to see the same jacket … passed on to the next generation of explorers within their own family.”

Not all products are good candidates for lifetime warranties. For example, nobody expects a cell phone or computer to last for generations. And even The North Face doesn’t stand by everything forever. However, some retailers say strong warranties — including extended warranties, service plans and breakage coverage consumers pay for — help them achieve higher conversion rates, raise average order values, and retain customers.

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