*Originally appeared in the May 2002 issue of Furniture/Today*
Beyond real estate appreciation, warranties and protection programs are now among the most significant profit centers for many retail furniture stores. Evolved from spray-on fabric protection, after-market warranties provide consumers protection against some of the damages that aren??t covered by retailers or manufacturers. Costing up to 10% of the price of the furniture ?? less than that for large purchases, these programs provide the consumer with five years of after-purchase coverage, and they represent a significant profit enhancer for retailers and for their salespeople. This second edition of Retail Ideas discusses some of the management, marketing and sales issues surrounding these warranty programs, which have expanded to leather, bedding, wood and other hard surfaces, as well as fabric upholstery. Retailers who have managed to embrace the comprehensive warranties now offered enjoy more than just a profit center. They also avoid handling expensive service calls several years after the sale, and when the warranty provider handles a call satisfactorily, the consumer is usually grateful to the store that sold them the warranty.
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