What does agility mean for high-tech after-sales?

Customer expectations for after-sales service have skyrocketed in recent years, as demonstrated in a UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper 2015 study of recent trends

  • Only 41% of shoppers were satisfied with post-shipment flexibility
  • 58% considered free shipping as key to a positive returns experience.

In the fiercely competitive high tech sector, after-sales can no longer be an after-thought. It’s very much a part of the selling process.

42% of companies view their reverse logistics as a strategic line of business.

Source: Blumberg Advisory Group

Many companies are responding to customers’ wishes with additional functionality such as call centres to generate Request for Merchandise Authorizations (RMA) and email-based labels.

Generally, however, much more needs to be done.


How your business can benefit from agile after-sales

After-sales processing represents 20-65% of the cost of goods sold in the electronics sector. (Source: Kurt Salmon, 2013) For online high-tech retailers, where return rates run three times higher than other sectors, this is a real concern.


In addition to returns, there are many more costs that are difficult to quantify – such as engineers’ time spent waiting for parts or their driving time to and from field service locations. Especially for smaller companies, these unseen costs can add up to hundreds of thousands each year.

Partnering with a company like UPS will enhance visibility across your supply chain, enabling you to control costs, and not only give you access to advice, but also to a global network to help grow your business.

Customers of all sizes are already benefiting from more agile supply chains. For electronics company GN Netcom we developed warehousing and transport solutions and introduced state-of-the-art technology for greater visibility and efficiency. Additive manufacturing (3-D Printing) company Materialise, integrated our software with theirs for more control and made use our flexible delivery solutions.

The need for agility is not just driven by customers. In these days of political and economic uncertainty, agility is integral to any successful sustainable business model.

In addition to the wider areas of agility, we can also help you with specific concerns.  For example, we support our clients in ensuring compliance with the stringent requirements of the WEEE directive (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment). We have solutions for waste management cross-nationally, including waste-return and additional services in seventeen countries.

Being agile means to be able to meet new challenges in any form.

So how do you go about setting up an agile after-sales strategy? 

Customers want more flexibility and control.

We commission regular in-depth research and surveys, such as the UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper that give insights into purchasing behaviour. Findings from these surveys provide  useful indicators of concerns that need to be addressed in after-sales generally:

  • Just 41% of shoppers were satisfied with post-shipment flexibility
  • Just over half of shoppers (53%) are happy with the ease of making returns
  • Buyers are unlikely to complete a purchase unless they know they can return goods easily

Delivery options such as UPS My Choice™ and the UPS Access Point™ network, give the flexibility, information and choice that all customers want — including those buying high-tech products. They also provide an efficient, transparent way of shipping replacement parts to field engineers, and of managing parts returns.

We can work with you to develop a strategy to ensure every part of your after-sales process is agile: from service parts logistics to depot and field repairs, from advanced API systems to field stocking locations for reduced delivery times.

Of course, a strategy that works well for one company may not be quite so successful for another. Agility is all about adapting to meet your business’ needs.

£400 million – Cost to UK high tech brands and retailers per year on returned products

(Source: WRAP UK)

How to set up an agile after-sales strategy

Initially, you will discuss your needs with our high-tech logistics experts to identify pain points and your after-sales challenges.

You may also benefit from an audit of your existing reverse logistics for efficiency and profitability. This can be a key step to identifying which returns are worth managing – and which products are worth selling.

Conversation and close collaboration are key to making agility work.  One of our account managers will continue to work with you, so that we can meet changing needs as your business grows, and help you respond to market changes and opportunities.

Solutions to help ensure agility in after-sales

We offer a variety of useful solutions that can be used by themselves or combined to offer all the after-sales agility you need.

Our solutions to make you more agile include:

A global integrated transport network:

  • UPS Standard® and Express® Whether you want fast or faster we have a suite of services to ensure your package arrives on a specific date or time.
  • UPS Access PointTM Locations A network of over 24,000 drop-off and collection point locations worldwide to facilitate exceptional returns.
  • UPS Returns Can give your after-sales offering flexible options to impress your customers and win their repeat business
  • UPS Access PointTM Label-less Returns Your customers simply drop off at one of our locations.

Visibility and control technology:

  • UPS My Choice Alerts customers to incoming shipments and gives them control, allowing them to reschedule the delivery time and location.
  • UPS Quantum View Allows you to manage outbound and inbound shipments with ease, and provides delivery notifications.

For High-tech companies, ecommerce brings global opportunities – and global competition. See how agility throughout your supply chain makes success more likely.

Carrie Royle

Carrie Royle

Industry Marketing Manager, UPS

I am responsible for ensuring we offer our customers solutions that really make a difference for their business today and into the future. I'm passionate about staying on the pulse of global trade and the evolving opportunities for businesses of all sizes and sectors. Carrie Royle LinkedIn Profile


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