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Circuit City Offering Value-Added Warranty Kits

Circuit City is spicing up the way it sells its CityAdvantage extended service plans.

As an added incentive to consumers, the company is offering a host of free software, technical support and discounted and trial offers — valued at over $200 — that are bundled together in a leather-bound binder. The “Comprehensive Resource Kits,” which are rolling out nationwide this month, are displayed on peg boards and provided to consumers at no extra charge with the purchase of an extended warranty on a PC. A similar program is carried by CompUSA.

“It’s something tangible for consumers, rather than a slip of paper, and it allows our sales associates to talk to the offering and communicate more effectively,” explained Mark Seger, Circuit City’s VP/warranty administration.

Seger, who joined the CE chain 16 months ago, said the program was born of a desire for differentiation in a staid sector. “Every warranty program looked and smelled the same,” he said. “We asked ourselves, ‘What can we do differently?'”

Working with an outside agency, Value Added Services, along with its extended service provider for computers, GE/Assurant, Circuit City partnered with companies like Microsoft, Earthlink, Snapfish and McAfee to develop the Resource Kit. “It’s an enormous tool for vendors by bringing a targeted message to PC buyers,” Seger noted.

Terms and pricing of Circuit City’s two-year and four-year PC warranties themselves remain unchanged, and results of an 88-store test “exceeded expectations,” Seger said, prompting the kits’ pre-back-to-school rollout. The chain will consider bringing the concept to other product categories.