By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
TWICE: What are you doing to help retailers increase attachment rates for online purchases?
Chuck Stewart, client services and business development senior VP, NEW: Online is trending to be the predominant channel shoppers will rely on this quarter. As a result, we are making sure our technology is delivering on the highest quality prompts on all categories.
Our two-part plug-and-play solution has dramatically increased online attachment rates at well over a dozen clients: PlanScan is a dynamic mapping engine that ensures a 100 percent ask rate for all eligible products, while PlanSmart is an array of merchandising solutions that make certain the customer sees a high quality offer, presented in ways that align with and reinforce our client’s web efforts.
When both tools are deployed, we see at least a fourfold improvement in attach rates, and they are often better than our industry-leading in-store attach rates. These capabilities will be a key driver for plan sales this holiday season.
Charles Pipia, president, Global Warranty Group: GWG’s marketing department is extremely involved with our online retailers. We assist them with positioning the offer, opt-out vs. opt-in selections, and we provide FAQs to help with any questions.
Sean Hicks, CEO, New Leaf Service Contracts: We have developed tools that dealers can use to automatically associate contracts to product. Our tool presents warranties on the product page and in the cart which gives us the opportunity to present the warranties at all the important places in the online purchase experience.
Additionally, for all of our customers who want to take advantage of it, we have a tool that allows their customers to manage warranties online. Customers can initiate service online and also keep us updated on their personal information. The most important thing about our online experience is we believe the retailer’s brand is the most important, so everything we do is under their brand.
Jennifer Monasterio, president, Mack Worldwide Warranty: Mack continually provides online point-of-sale and promotional material. We are also releasing a new online commercial for e-commerce dealers so that online consumers will be able to better understand the benefits of purchasing a Mack Extended Warranty.
In addition, our custom e-commerce application may be integrated with any website to give the consumer the option to purchase a warranty during the checkout process.
Sean Stapleton, president/CEO, Warrantech: We continually share best practices with our partners regarding optimizing online extended service contract programs, including guidance on messaging, content placement and the importance of missed point of sale solutions.
Our collective experience is that online programs, while very different in many regards to traditional retail programs, share a common trait for success with their brick-and- mortar counterparts. The most successful retail programs are based on earning trust with customers during the product sale and establishing the importance of the extended service contract during and after the sales process.
Justin Thomas, consumer products senior VP North America, The Warranty Group: With our retail clients we are working to reemphasize some of the basics such as streamlining of the marketing message and product placement within the purchasing process; providing the best coverage options that clearly outline the benefits to the consumer; and ensuring we constantly seek the right price point that is relative to not only the product itself but to alternative options for service contracts in the market place.
Jim Mostofi, president, AIG Warranty: We work very closely with our online retailers to optimize each customer’s journey through the online sales process. We strive to properly position the service contract offer for ease of purchase and clearly communicate the need/value/benefits of the service plan to the consumer.
Stacey Vogler, marketing and product development VP, Assurant Solutions: We help retailers increase attachment rates for online sales by providing insight around how, when and where to make the protection offer. The great thing about online sales is that retailers can ensure the offer is made every time, something that doesn’t always happen in a store. Our experience and understanding of the online purchase experience — and the post-purchase experience of online shoppers — enables our clients to meet the protection needs of this growing customer base.
Matt Taylor, operations VP, Bankers Warranty Group: BWG works with our dealers to examine opportunities to improve attachment online. Opportunities might include program promotion, optimizing product-level content, product integration throughout the purchase path, additional messaging within the shopping cart, creating a memorable and recognizable brand experience, improving and expanding customer service tools online, and developing FAQs and easy-to-use resources.
TWICE: How are you addressing mobile commerce?
Ty Shay, chief marketing officer, SquareTrade: We view mobile commerce as an opportunity to drive better service to our customers through innovation. In addition to launching a website optimized for smartphones, we are developing mobile applications to improve the overall SquareTrade experience. Whether it’s managing your existing plans or filing a claim, a smartphone app can make things easier and faster.
We also think mobile opens new opportunities to increase sales— traditionally, people have found it difficult to get a protection plan if they didn’t buy it when they first purchased their phone. So we created a dead-simple app [Protect My Phone] which you can download to protect your phone no matter when you bought it. That app is now being sold at partner retail locations as well.
Mostofi: Our most important mobile focus is enhancing our service contract holder’s service experience. For example, we offer consumers the ability to schedule service appointments, check status, and receive service updates in real time via their mobile devices.
We also have mobile apps that allow consumers to purchase service contracts directly from their mobile device. It’s all about making life easier for the consumer, which enhances the value proposition for our clients and distinguishes AIG Warranty.
David Anderson, Protect Your Bubble: Mobile commerce is incredibly important in the current marketplace, especially if you are doing TV advertising where consumers are progressively using the second screen. Protect Your Bubble has both a mobile and tablet version of our website to ensure these progressive customers can effectively and quickly buy protection on the go or on the couch.
Pipia: With one of every three visitors to websites being on a mobile device, we are excited about m-commerce and what the future holds for it. As consumers become more comfortable with purchasing from their phones and tablets, we look forward to the additional sales opportunities it presents and how we market to those customers.
Monasterio: During the redesigning processing of our current website we worked with developers to keep in mind that more people than ever are using tablets and cell phones to surf the web. Our goal was to create a mobile version of our site that could be more than just easily viewed on mobile devices. With this in mind, consumers may use any of their devices to research our product information.
Vogler: Assurant Solutions understands that customers want the ease and convenience that mobile delivers, and we were the first warranty company to enable consumers to file and track a claim via a mobile app.
From that success, we are now launching the next generation of our website properties that will bring even more functionality to our client portals and the mobile experience. Consumers will have the best user experience in the industry with an emphasis on the mobile device.
Stapleton: We continue to provide a strong online service platform for our partner programs in addition to other online tools. Our goal is to allow customers to interact with us on their terms, whether through social media, web chat, our dynamic online claim adjudication tool or over the phone. Thomas: As more consumers start their buying process on a given mobile electronics device it is imperative that all options are provided and that we capitalize in a consistent fashion on another avenue for sales and delivering high quality coverage. From our perspective, the message and process should be seamless to the consumer whether they are in the store, at home or on their mobile device.
Hicks: We do not sell direct to the consumer so we are not doing anything from a New Leaf standpoint, but we are partnering with two mobile developers to include our programs as part of their package when they sell retailers on developing a mobile application. Our mobile application will be a module with our development partners that can be used to manage the service contracts purchased from our dealers.
Stewart: We are working actively with our partners to deploy our industry-leading PlanSmart toolkit to their mobile sites/apps. Our goal is that 100 percent of eligible mobile transactions prompt for a plan and that the prompt is delivered with the highest of quality.
In post-purchase customer care, all of our registration and claim sites are already mobile responsive, and we continue to look for new ways to deliver those experiences within the mobile form factor. We want to meet the customer where they are, whether it’s the web via our portals and online chat, mobile or on the phone.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.