We’re calling it now: product protection is the new free shipping.
In the early 2000s, Amazon basically invented the free shipping game as a way to address a key customer problem: buyers didn’t want to have to pay to get their items to them. They started offering the bonus for orders over $99, then dropped it to $49, then $25, and eventually rolled it into other services offered as part of Amazon Prime.
Nowadays, every eComm retailer worth their salt offers some version of free shipping to entice customers to buy.
And we expect the same thing to happen with product protection.
Offering a guarantee that a customer is covered if their purchase breaks address another common customer problem. It shows that you, as a retailer, stand by your products, and that you’ve got your customer’s back in case anything goes wrong. And it ups customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Here, we look at brands that have long offered lifetime warranties as a way to convince customers that their products are a good buy. We’ll also cover some newer players who are hopping on the trend.
What is a lifetime warranty and how are companies able to offer them?
First off, we need to define some terms. Let’s go through Warranties 101:
- A warranty is a guarantee that a product will function as described and intended. Consumer products are not required by law to have warranties, but if one is given, it must comply with the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and be clear, fair, and enforceable
- A limited warranty is a guarantee from the manufacturer of the product that the product will work as intended. They come with no additional cost to the consumer.
- An extended warranty is an optional extension of the term length of the limited warranty. (If the limited warranty was for one year, an extended warranty might be for two or three or five.) These are purchased by the consumer for additional cost, and cover everything in the limited warranty as well as wear and tear and power surges.
- A lifetime warranty is a guarantee that a manufacturer will repair or replace any defective parts for their products and comes at no additional cost. The “lifetime” may reference the suggested lifetime of the product (when used as intended), or the time that the product is in production (or some years after that date). It rarely means the lifetime of the buyer.
So to summarize: lifetime warranties are ways for manufacturers or sellers to double down on their products’ quality. But because they don’t come with additional cost to the consumer, the risk that the product does need replacement or repair is entirely borne by the manufacturer or seller. That’s different from the extended warranties we offer at Clyde, since they cost consumers extra and thus bump up retailers’ margins and AOVs along the way.
When does it make sense for a retailer to offer a lifetime warranty? Well, they need to meet a few conditions:
- They have to believe in the quality of their products. If something was made poorly and is going to break in the first year of use, retailers are at risk of losing a lot of money repairing and replacing shoddy products.
- They have to be able to make repairs or replacements. A roofing company might have an easier time going in and making fixes under a lifetime warranty than an electronics company who doesn’t have in-house repair services. Retailers don’t want consumers to have failures with their items, but if they do, they need a way to address them.
- They have to be able to price appropriately to account for the risk they’re taking on. Retailers need to have a sense of the fail rate of their product. How often will they need to repair or replace it? How much will that cost? What does that mean they should do to their prices to cover their liabilities? There’s a lot of math in warranty calculations, just like any other kind of insurance market.
- They have to define “lifetime warranty” in a way that works for them. Some retailers’ lifetime warranties apply only to the original purchaser, whereas others can go through multiple owners and still be valid. Retailers will need to determine their warranty term, any exclusions, and how they’ll price products.
Not every business can or should offer lifetime warranties. But if they’re right for yours, they certainly come with benefits, including:
- Branding opportunities. LL Bean’s lifetime warranty was so famous in 1987 that it merited an entire Wall Street Journal article. You can’t buy that kind of press coverage. And as you’ll see in the examples below, many companies actually turn their warranty program into an extension of their marketing efforts, connecting it to their brand values.
- Increased customer loyalty. Loyal customers will end up spending more in the long run, and telling customers that they’re covered if something happens to their product is a pretty good way to get them to stick around.
- Differentiation. If a customer is choosing between a product with a lifetime warranty and one without, they’re more likely to choose the former, even if it comes at a slightly higher cost. A lifetime guarantee may even dissauge would-be competitors from getting in the mix, showing them they’re unlikely to successfully win away business.
25 Brands With Stellar Warranty Deals You’ll Want to Give Your Customers
Clothing Brands With Lifetime Warranties
The eco-conscious outdoor retailer is well-known for their Ironclad Guarantee, which states:
If you are not satisfied with one of our products at the time you receive it, or if one of our products does not perform to your satisfaction, return it to the store you bought it from or to Patagonia for a repair, replacement or refund. Damage due to wear and tear will be repaired at a reasonable charge.
Simple, clear, and generous—this is one of the best lifetime warranties out there.
2. Eddie Bauer
Outdoor clothing retailer Eddie Bauer offers an “Unconditional Lifetime Guarantee”:
Eddie was one of the first retailers to offer an unconditional guarantee in writing-he was that confident and committed to the quality of his products. And after 50 years in business he said, "My greatest contribution to the consumer was our 100% unconditional lifetime guarantee. That guarantee was part of what I sold." Eddie's philosophy guides us to this day. Every product we sell is designed to be the best and built to last. If anything you buy falls short of those standards, you're invited to return it at any time.
3. The North Face
This sport brand offers a Limited Lifetime Warranty:
Our products are fully warranted against defects in materials and workmanship with a lifetime guarantee. Exclusions apply.
Those exclusions include footwear, damages from accidents / improper care / normal wear and tear, and anyone other than the original owner. They also specify that the warranty is for the lifetime of the product, not the lifetime of the buyer. To use the warranty, buyers need to send the clean, broken product in a prepaid, insured package with a warranty form to North Face’s repair department.
4. L.L. Bean
If you are not 100% satisfied with one of our products, you may return it within one year of purchase for a refund. After one year, we will consider any items for return that are defective due to materials or craftsmanship.
For example, in that NPR article, a man was able to get a new pair of boots after bringing the pair he bought four years ago that had broken stitching.
5. Canada Goose
The outerwear brand’s warranty policy states:
Canada Goose products purchased from an Authorized Retailer are fully warranted against defects in materials and workmanship for the lifetime of the product – which means the usual and customary wearable life of the product, by the original owner. If a product fails due to a manufacturing defect, we will repair the product free of charge, or replace it at our discretion.
It doesn't include repairs needed due to accidents or normal wear and tear
6. Duluth Trading Company
Rugged outdoors brand Duluth Trading Company offers a “No Bull Guarantee”:
If you are not satisfied with any item you purchase from Duluth Trading, return it for a refund within one year. After one year, we will also consider returns for items that are defective or don’t perform as designed. No Bull means if something goes wrong, we will always treat you right.
It includes most purchases, but excludes products damaged by misuse or improper care.
Following the theme of hardworking brands with aggressive lifetime guarantees comes Carhartt’s “Guaranteed to Work” plan:
If one of our products should ever fail to meet your expectations, we’ll work to make it right through repair, replacement, or credit. Damage due to normal wear and tear over time will be repaired at a reasonable and transparent charge.
8. Columbia Sports
This outerwear company offers a limited lifetime warranty:
This Limited Lifetime Warranty covers defects in materials and workmanship for the practical lifetime of Columbia Sportswear brand products manufactured by Columbia Sportswear or its affiliates. Only original, unaltered, and unmodified materials and workmanship are covered by this policy. This limited lifetime warranty does not cover damage caused by normal wear and tear, improper care, misuse, accident, neglect, or the natural breakdown of materials over time.
It specifies that the warranty is good for the “practical life of the product” and ends if the original buyer sells or transfers the product, but does not specify what that practical life is.
9. Tilley Endurables
This luxury hat brand offers a lifetime guarantee for some of its products:
Your Tilley hat should be treasured. We are so confident in our craftsmanship that some of our hats are Guaranteed for Life against normal wear and tear, poor workmanship, or faulty material. If your hat is Guaranteed for Life, we will repair or replace it free of charge.
The only catch? You must make a Tilley.com account and register your product online within 90 days of purchase.
The rugged outdoors line offers a guarantee that reads:
We believe in our products and stand by the quality of workmanship, craftsmanship and materials in each one. We guarantee the lifetime of each item against failure or damage in its intended usage.
That excludes general wear and tear and accidents and anything beyond the product’s lifespan.
11. Grunt Style
This military-inspired company offers a “Beer Guarantee,” where you can send your clothing back for any reason—"including tears, holes, loose threads, beer stains - even blood stains from defending the American Flag”—and get a new item. If the overdone patriotism and toxic masculinity doesn’t turn you off, you’ll certainly get your money’s worth.
The worker-friendly brand doesn’t offer a full lifetime guarantee, but does have a satisfaction guarantee:
If you purchased an item from us or from one of our authorized sellers that doesn't meet your expectations, contact us. We will reach out to you for either a refund, replacement, or a gift card. We guarantee quality and value in all purchases from our authorized sellers, and stand by the expected life of the item. Therefore, we’re happy to work with you reasonably, fairly and with you, as a customer, in mind.
The brand’s footwear also has a six-month limited warranty.
13. Lands End
Lands End used to offer a lifetime guarantee, but now only states on their Business page that their products are “meant to be worn, rumpled and loved” and that they can be returned or exchanged (if customers pay for shipping).
The page’s language hints at a guarantee but stops a bit shy of saying that:
We stand behind our goods and services and trust you will be happy with your purchase. In the event you're not, we have a simple return policy. If you're not satisfied with any item, simply return it to us at any time.
Work Boots, Shoes, and Footwear Warranties
14. Darn Tough Socks
If you visit Darn Tough Socks’ homepage, you’ll see a compelling deal: get socks for life by buying seven pairs. “That’s all you’ll ever need,” a pop-up reads, “because our socks are guaranteed for life.” Here’s their “unconditional guarantee,” which comes before a photo gallery of real socks sent in by customers for replacement (holes in the heels and all!):
We get it, the idea of “unconditionally guaranteed” could be interpreted differently, but we guarantee our work, and our socks. Hike to the Moon, and we will cover that kind of wear, but if you leave them there, we don’t want to assume responsibility for that. We don’t need a receipt, we don’t need a reason.
15. Bombas Socks
The well-known sock (and other clothing) maker has a lifetime guarantee that’s branded as their Happiness Guarantee, and is even more inclusive than others on this list:
If your socks don't fit, we'll help you return or exchange. If your shirt develops a hole, we'll replace it. Dog chewed up your socks, we'll replace them.
They even have a separate Kid-Proof Guarantee that goes even farther:
If your kids scuff, tear, or just plain grow out their Bombas within a year, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ll replace them or send you the next size up, free of charge.
16. Feetures Socks
These makers of specialty running socks have a Lifetime Guarantee that’s pretty all-inclusive:
If our products fail to live up to your standards, you may return them at any time for a replacement - no questions asked!
17. Chacos Footwear
This brand’s trappy, sporty sandals are covered by a warranty that has no time limit, but does only address faulty materials, not wear and tear:
All Chaco products are warranted to be free of defects in materials or workmanship for the entire life of the product.
18. Doc Martens
Doc Martens went the way of other retailers in early 2018 and discontinued their For Life guarantee for their GUARANTEED FOR LIFE boots and shoes. It was a truly unique lifetime warranty since it covered the failure of any competent of the boots, including and especially for normal wear and tear, “from the day on which the original owner activates their guarantee, to the end of that person's natural life.”
Now, they offer a limited warranty:
We offer a one year warranty against manufacturing defects for items purchased from our official online store or retail locations. Unfortunately items purchased outside of this period are not covered under our guarantee.
19. Bogs Boots
Winter, waterproof, and farm boots sold by Bogs come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee—though just for a limited time:
While we can't guarantee BOGS° will never wear out, we do guarantee our product is free from workmanship and material defects 1 year from the date of purchase.
20. Blundstone Boots
The bootmaker’s warranty program is good only for faulty, unworn products that come with the original purchase receipt. In that case, they say:
You are entitled to a replacement or refund for a major failure and for compensation for any other reasonably foreseeable loss or damage. You are also entitled to have the goods repaired or replaced if the goods fail to be of acceptable quality and the failure does not amount to a major failure.
Other Apparel Brands that Offer Great Warranty Deals
The backpack brand offers a limited lifetime warranty on its products that provides original owners with repair or replacement to address manufacturing defects only:
The products eligible for the lifetime warranty are covered to the original owner, for the lifetime of the product. Unfortunately, this does not mean your lifetime. Inevitably, well used (and well loved!) products will eventually wear out—fabrics will deteriorate, and colors will fade. Please use your judgment when assessing whether your product is likely to be covered under the warranty policy—it may simply be time to replace it.
This outdoors-backpack brand offers a generous All Mighty Guarantee for “any reason, any product, any era,” and proudly boasts that they’ll replace packs whether they were “produced in 1974 or yesterday.”
23. Eagle Creek
This luggage company offers a No Matter What™ Warranty, though it does exclude normal wear and tear:
Our Lifetime Warranty covers workmanship and materials against defect for the entire life of the product. During this period, if the product is covered by the warranty, we will repair or replace it at our discretion. Contents of your bag, normal wear and tear, abuse and cosmetic wear and tear are excluded. ‘Lifetime’ is defined as the lifetime of the product not of the purchaser.
24. Red Oxx
This maker of travel bags and accessories offers a “No Bull” lifetime warranty that their CEO introduces by saying, “Our products are guaranteed forever, be sure to include them in your will.” And while buyers have to pay for shipping and cleaning, the warranty does include any owner, not just the first one:
The Red Oxx Lifetime Guarantee is completely transferable for life. Covered are all bags and accessories made by us including Limited Editions, Special Editions, Custom bags, Corporate Promotional orders and mass produced bags, at any time in our history, regardless of how they were obtained – gifts, second hand store, ebay auctions, hand-me-downs, custom work or modifications done by Red Oxx. Our “No Bull” Lifetime Warranty is, in a word, unconditional!
Depending on the type of watch, Detroit-based watchmaker Shinola offers different guarantees:
Shinola metal quartz and automatic watches are guaranteed for life, and the company’s TR90 resin watches are guaranteed for 3 years under the terms and conditions of our warranties. In the case of defects covered by the warranties, all components (excluding battery, leather/rubber/nylon/silicone strap, stainless steel bracelet, and buckle) will be repaired or the watch will be replaced free of charge.
Give Customers The Product Warranties They Want With Clyde
Offering a lifetime warranty is a great way to make customers happy and to show that you stand behind your products. Giving them the option to purchase an extended warranty is a good idea, too, particularly because it facilitates their long-term use of the product while also supporting your bottom line.
Ready to see how you can get Clyde’s purchase protection platform up and running on your site in just a few minutes? Schedule a demo today.