The best innovation you can offer customers and retailers is a real, straightforward warranty.
One of the biggest issues we have as a vendor in this industry, aside from the politics and market saturation, is the lack of companies that are willing to stand behind their products at the manufacturing level. For a long time, this industry has been a huge cash grab for Chinese manufacturers as they pummel the market with new mods which really only have a marginal improvement over their predecessors. (strategically placed 90 days apart, about the time a well taken care of mod will last) Then, reviewers around the globe grab these mods and praise them if they can last the one week that they actually use the mod. For a vendor, this is very frustrating because to be in business you literally have to follow the herd to stay relevant, even if you don’t believe in the product yourself or know it may have a strong chance of failing in the long haul. One thing many vendors realize is the vape herd will buy anything, and if someone is praising a product, you better have it in stock regardless of how you feel about it as an experienced business owner.
Even though I have been doing this for 3+ years and have watched the industry grow in a good way, I still feel like the products are just about the same quality, although the technology is better. You see the issue from a vendor standpoint (a serious vendor, not s swap meet, sell anything vendor) is that these products still have high defect rates and are still engineered for short term use and abuse. We see the issues daily as we work directly with the public; reviewers, and social media commenters have no real skin in the game. Not trying to be offensive but not willing to dilute how I feel either. It’s not them who lose thousands of dollars in refunds, exchanges, and lost unhappy customers. Digital swap meet vendors ride the low profit margin hype train all the way to the bank and then enforce a 30 day policy when the crap product inevitably fails.
I have tried to redeem several warranties, and I tell you many of these processes are just flat out stupid, gimmicky, and really just a pain in the ass. Pioneer4you has an excellent warranty program and I consider them the best in the business. Eleaf and Innokin are almost nonexistent and Innokin’s reputation is considered good, but it’s really probably the worst brand in the industry. Again we work in this industry and we see the issues first hand. The warranty game for most Chinese companies is to stall and make it difficult to get anything done. They don’t worry about engineering for the long haul because they do not really lose, they just say sorry and fix the next batch/version. (Well, maybe.) It’s pure profit, think up a mod, post a picture, and sell! Sell! Sell! In 3 months when it breaks, let the retailer be the bad guy. In some cases we (as a retailer) can make a stupid video of the issue (sometimes it works and sometimes it’s a waste of time) and then it quickly turns into the China warranty run around. “Buy more product and we will include the replacement on the next order” game. That might be O.K. if vaping hardware didn’t break just from looking at it.
At Sun Vapers we are frustrated. If Chinese mod makers want to stay relevant, they need to get in front of their poor engineering choices and if they continue to make flaky junk, they need to have at a bare minimum 180 day warranty from the date of purchase from the reseller. (not from the manufacturer, the retailer) 6 months is perfect. The warranty should have a U.S. service center and the service center should be customer centric. If you offer a 1 year warranty, these service centers should have an infrastructure in place for customers and vendors to get replacements that do not consist of a bunch of hoops meant to detour someone from getting the offered warranty. Also with a long manufacturer’s warranty, it needs to be handled by the manufacturer, not the shop selling item. Unless a business signs an agreement to offer warranty service, we are not obligated to fix the item. Chinese companies like to say, “Take it to the place you purchased it.” What they really means is, “We are not going to fix it, but maybe your reseller will replace it for you, if they don’t you can be mad at them not us”
Aspire and Pioneer4you are #1 in my book.
I have never had to get an Aspire product replaced. Their defect rate is so low that it’s easier for me to eat the cost. Their track record is so good that I can sell thousands of items and rarely hear about unhappy customer, let alone an actually defective product.
I LOVE THIS COMPANY. They offer a great product, but the best part is the warranty service. It’s accessible by the customer or retailer.
- Within 30 days at Sun-Vapers we will exchange or replace one of these purchased in our store for free, given it’s not user error. (this is our in store policy, not part of the warranty)
- Within 6 months we will help our in store customers get a replacement, all they have to do is pay $10 to cover the two ways shipping cost. We handle the communication and shipping and packing. Hassle free to the core. Turnaround time is 7 days. (this is our in store policy, not part of the warranty)
The bottom line.
Too many people praise companies that for years have been selling poorly made junk that does not match the rigors of everyday vape. Popular reviewers, I think, are the biggest offenders of this. They will review a product, but nobody talks about its warranty or its durability over time. In any other industry, this a key talking point. Junk mods lead to customers going back to smoking, looking for the cheapest reseller, and continued poor engineering choices.
Simply having a warranty where companies had to take a loss and actually replace junk products will lead to better engineering, happier customers, and better profits for resellers. None of these new mods are worth anything without a real warranty. It’s 2015, and many Chinese manufacturers have become multimillionaires. Time to grow up. Its’ time for consumers to demand accountability from the Chinese.
Forgive me negativity based out of frustration, I see a new volley of temperature controlled devices hitting the market and all I can think of is what company will be the most popular and will that company actually make a good product or will I have to replace several dozens if not hundreds of them within 90 days. As a vendor I literally feel powerless to steer people to products I know are good as the market trends are not dictated by vendors which I think is somewhat of a bad thing.