A strong guarantee is an essential part of every marketing strategy, whether your products are being sold online or in the physical world. A successful guarantee removes the customer’s perception of risk. For instance, decades ago ordering pizza for delivery could take hours, and it would often arrive cold. Domino’s Pizza stepped up by guaranteeing a hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less.

Another great example is the Men’s Wearhouse. Getting fitted for a suit isn’t cheap, and sometimes the final result doesn’t look as good as it did on the rack. Former spokesperson for the Men’s Wearhouse, George Zimmerman, ended every TV and radio commercial with the famous line, “You’re going to like the way you look. I guarantee it.”

Your online business model requires a guarantee 

Online purchases from an unfamiliar business can be a gamble. You may have plenty of existing, loyal customers, but new customers don’t know you quite yet. They will, however, look at reviews to see how well you stand behind your products before making a purchase.

It’s impossible to satisfy every potential risk for your customers, so don’t expect your guarantee to do it all. However, if possible, your guarantee should focus on mitigating the most prominent risks your customers will be concerned about. This begins with creating a realistic guarantee that supports the customer.

  1. Be ready and willing to honor your guarantee, no matter what

Your guarantee needs to be something you’re willing to honor, no matter what. Your guarantee is a direct promise to your customers, and honoring your guarantee contributes to a trustworthy reputation.

  1. Don’t make yourself responsible for customer error
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Selling products that serve as business tools, Printing Center USA relies on customer uploads to produce business flyers. If the final result is poor quality, it’s not necessarily the company’s fault. Not everyone is a professional designer; customers don’t always know their files are low quality.

To mitigate this potential customer error, the aforementioned business guarantees a reprint at their expense, provided the error was not the customer’s error. Their guarantee policy specifically states, “Upon receipt of returned merchandise, Printing Center USA will reprint the order at our expense, from your original file. We reserve the right to determine whether a manufacturing error or defect has occurred. If new files are submitted or additional corrections are made, additional charges will apply.”

  1. Understand that your product isn’t for everyone

When a customer requests a refund, it can seem like money is being sucked out of your pocket. What’s really happening is you’ve allowed a customer to try out your product, and it just wasn’t right for them. This is part of life. Your product won’t be for everyone, and sometimes people need to check it out to know.

Dean Rieck from Copyblogger describes how The Teaching Company’s lifetime satisfaction guarantee made him comfortable with a $500 audio CD purchase. The company’s guarantee reads:

“LIFETIME SATISFACTION GUARANTEE: If you are not completely satisfied with the purchase you have paid for, you may return it with a note describing why you are disappointed and we will issue a full refund or credit your charge card for what you paid for the course or courses.”

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This kind of guarantee makes sense for a digital product. However, this isn’t a no questions asked guarantee. The company requires a note describing why the customer is disappointed. Requiring the customer to put in some effort to get their money back filters out the freeloaders.

The more your item costs, the better it is to offer a money back guarantee. You may get some returns, but you’ll also get sales you wouldn’t have without the guarantee.

As pointed out a Business.com article covering the pros and cons of money back guarantees, the new mattress company Purple offers the guarantee, “Sleep on your Purple Bed for 100 nights. If you don’t love your mattress, we’ll pick it up and refund your money.”

Purple’s guarantee reduces significant risk for the customer. Mattresses are traditionally purchased in person, after testing out a variety of options. Buying a mattress online is a big expense that poses significant risk. What if it feels good for a month and then starts to sink in the middle? If it doesn’t work out, who wants to figure out how to ship a $700-$1,200 mattress back to the manufacturer?

Purple’s guarantee allows the consumer to make a blind purchase, and test it out long enough to decide whether it’s the right purchase. If it doesn’t work out, the return process is effortless.

People want an easy process

Effortlessness should be at the heart of any guarantee you offer. While you want the customer to make some effort, they shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get their money back.

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