We are focusing on price transparency
by Tobias Billeter
Digitec Galaxus is blazing a trail. The Swiss online retailer now displays how often customers return products, how often products break during the warranty period and how long it takes for a warranty claim to be settled. With that, Galaxus and Digitec now serve as a reference work for the product and service quality of many brands.
How likely is your new HP notebook to break down during the warranty period? Are Timberland winter boots returned more often than UGG boots? How long will you have to wait for your Fairphone to be repaired? The online stores Galaxus and Digitec now provide the answers to these questions directly on each product’s page.
«We’re the first on the e-commerce market to do this,» says Oliver Herren, Chief Innovation Officer at Digitec Galaxus. «I’m not aware of any other online retailer in the world that discloses this data – nor any manufacturer nor comparison portal.» With that, the online department store Galaxus and electronics retailer Digitec serve as a reference for the product and service quality of many brands and product types.
What exactly do customers now see? Under the «Returns» section and the «Warranty» (in Switzerland) or «Guarantee» (in the EU) section of each product, the following three additional pieces of information are now displayed:
The «Return rate» shows how often a type of product from a given brand was returned in the last 12 months. For example: in the last 12 months, customers returned 2.4 per cent of all Samsung TVs purchased at Galaxus or Digitec.
The return rate at Digitec Galaxus across the entire product range was less than two per cent in the last 12 months. Clothes and shoes are typically returned more often than mobile phones, for example. «A high return rate may suggest, for example, that a smartwatch manufacturer is overpromising with its products, that the product images of a closet are missing important details, or that sweaters from a brand don’t fit many customers,» says Zara Hegemann, Senior Product Owner, who helped develop the new features.
«Warranty score» shows how often a type of product from a given brand was defective within the first 24 months after purchase. Just under 6.4 per cent of Medion PCs, for example, end up in warranty claims within two years, while the rate for Apple computers is 0.8 per cent. «The warranty score is a good indicator of product quality,» Zara says. «Now, for the first time, consumers have access to reliable statistics on defects to complement their own gut feeling as well as reviews by experts and other customers.»
Under «Warranty case duration», customers can see how long it takes on average for a type of product from a given brand to be returned to the owner in the event of a warranty claim. Like the other rankings, this is based on data from the last 24 months. In the case of Husqvarna lawn mowers, for example, it usually takes eleven days for a replacement to be delivered or for the repaired machine to be returned. In contrast, competing products from Einhell take an average of five days.
«We want our customers to be able to make the most informed and sustainable purchasing decision possible,» Oliver says. «That’s why, in addition to a lot of other product information, we show the price development of the products in our range as well as Youtube reviews, for instance.» These new features make honesty even more crucial in our relationship with our customers. «Knowing, for example, that a warranty claim is opened for one in five of a given fully automatic coffee machine is definitely worth something.»
One possible side effect is that Digitec Galaxus’ costs could decrease – namely, if customers increasingly opt for products that perform well in terms of return rate and warranty score. After all, each return and every warranty case costs time and money in the form of customer service. And if customers really do change their shopping behaviour, it’ll also be better for the environment; products that break frequently and quickly place a larger strain on the environment than those that last many years.
Oliver and Zara expect the added transparency will not initially be met with enthusiasm by all manufacturers – especially not by those whose products underperform. «Then again, customers will be just as dissatisfied if the products they order don’t fit the bill or break quickly. Or if it takes weeks for a warranty claim to be resolved,» Zara says. «That’s why we’re making our data public and showing which brands are delivering on their promise.»
For more information, visit our wiki: click here for Switzerland and click here for the EU.
What do you think of our new features? Will you use them as a guide when shopping? Join the discussion in the comments section!
At Digitec and Galaxus, I’m in charge of communication with journalists and bloggers. Good stories are my passion – I am always up to date.