UPDATE: September 18, 2018: The website launch scheduled for this week was postponed until next week.
RepairClinic, a provider of parts for appliances, HVAC systems, lawn equipment and outdoor power gear, is rebranding itself and leveraging manufacturer guarantees to challenge Amazon and others in the e-commerce market for appliance and equipment parts, according to information e-mailed to Retail Dive by RepairClinic.
The move comes after an $8 million digital transformation project during which RepairClinic also recently hired two new technology-focused executives — Vice President of Digital Marketing Kyle Hilbrenner and Vice President of Software Engineering Shailesh Vanani.
RepairClinic, which offers a manufacturer's guarantee of authenticity on all of the parts its sells, also is intensifying its focus on the appliance repair market as part of the rebranding strategy. To fuel the effort, it's rolling out a new website this week.
With its manufacturer guarantees, RepairClinic is targeting the one of the largest weaknesses of many e-commerce marketplaces today — counterfeits. It's a problem that still makes buying from types of items from them sometimes a risky business. Amazon, eBay and Alibaba have historically had problems with counterfeits infiltrating their marketplaces.
The counterfeits problem was largely ignored for a while, but now all the major players are making efforts to reduce the risk. Amazon, for example, has created a brand registry, Alibaba created an anti-counterfeiting alliance and eBay has its eBay Authenticate program. There also is an emerging throng of technology-based solutions to stop counterfeit products from moving through supply chains (Entrupy, for example, just announced technology that uses computer vision to spot subtle inconsistencies with products.) RepairClinic's guarantee represents the latest anti-counterfeiting effort and a use of product authenticity as a new kind of competitive weapon in e-commerce.
The market for appliances, machines and equipment parts is an industry segment that traditionally has been hard to reach for Amazon and other e-commerce businesses. But, e-commerce giants are penetrating further into these markets. In particular, Wayfair has expanded its appliance offerings through moves like its addition of GE appliances late last year. That announcement came not long after Amazon partnered with Sears to sell Kenmore appliances.
With its digital transformation project, including becoming a major provider of DIY videos on YouTube, and additions to its e-commerce team, RepairClinic is moving in the same direction. Guarantees of authenticity in order to fight counterfeits can be used as a step to reassure customers migrating from brick-and-mortar to online shopping experience.