April 23, 2008, 12:00 AM

20% of customers opt for Etronics’ $2.99 delivery guarantee

The optional Assured Delivery service guarantees customers a replacement product if an item is lost or damaged during delivery. Etronics believes it can break even on the service, and gain some sales from consumers who might otherwise not buy online.

Hoping to allay consumers’ fears about buying electronics products online, Etronics this month introduced Assured Delivery, a $2.99 option that guarantees customers replacement products if items are lost or damaged during shipment. The response has been better than expected, with about 20% of customers choosing to pay for the guarantee, says Mayer Balser, CEO.

Balser had been thinking about offering a guarantee for some time as a way to ease consumers’ fears that an item ordered online might not arrive on time or intact. “This is one more thing for us to take out of the loop and give them a reason to finish their transaction,” Balser says.

Etronics, No. 72 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, ran the numbers and concluded it could break even on the service, taking into account the revenue it would receive from the fees and the reimbursement it could obtain from filing insurance claims.

Customers who opt for the Assured Delivery service are guaranteed delivery within 15 days of an order being shipped from the retailer’s New York distribution centers. If the order does not arrive in time, or if an item is damaged, Etronics says it will process an immediate replacement order. Balser says he is not aware of any other online retailer making a similar offer.

The guarantee mainly covers items shipped by UPS or the U.S. Postal Service. The guarantee does not cover televisions and other large items shipped by truck. Those carriers often take 15 days or more to make a delivery, Balser says.

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