Bundling replacement parts with the initial purchase

05Jul11

When you buy a jacket, sweater, or pair of pants, it’s customary to find a little packet attached with replacement buttons and thread. I imagine that clothing manufacturers do this because they know it’s really hard for customers to locate these supplies later. Plus, the practice probably costs them next to nothing.

But why is clothing the only category deserving of this treatment? Wouldn’t it be great if furniture included replacement cushions, or if electronic devices shipped with spare power supplies? Obviously, the difference here is that parts for soft goods tend to be inexpensive, while components for hard goods are usually quite pricey.

Of course, nobody said that the replacement parts need to be free. As a rule of thumb, manufacturers should toss in the extra parts at no charge when the cost of doing so is nominal. And if the cost of those components is substantial, then make them available as an extra-cost option that customers can elect during the initial purchase.

By giving customers ready access to replacement parts via a standard or optional bundle, people who keep the product for an extended period will spend less time hunting for obscure parts — and more time telling others about how thoughtful the manufacturer was to include those items from the start.



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