Sunday, March 18, 2012

Wal-Mart to drop GPS sales due to high rate of returns?

DigiTtimes is reporting that Wal-Mart may be considering discontinuing sales of GPS receivers due to the high rate of consumer returns. First a quote, then comments…

GPS sales have an average return rate of about 25% in North America and as high as 40% at Wal-Mart, with the return rate being much higher than other electronics products.

Some major channel distributors including Best Buy and Circuit Buy have started limiting returns to within 14 days of the purchase date, while
requiring customers to pay a 15% restocking fee for returns.

However, Wal-Mart currently accepts product returns for within 30 days of purchase and requests no additional charge, which exposes the retailer
to more risk, the GPS vendors commented.

40% return rate!  Wow! What could be causing the return rate to be so high? Even 25% is pretty amazing. I imagine that manufacturing defects account for only a tiny fraction. Now this is just my hunch, but I would attribute it to:

  • Models with a poorly designed user interface.
  • Models with an inadequate number of points of interest.
  • Inadequate research (and inexperience with GPS) on the part of consumers. This could of course, result in them getting models with the first two issues, as well as not getting other features that they did  want.

Most of my reviews start with Amazon links and yes, I do get a very small percentage of the purchase price. As a result of this, I see how many receivers are returned that are bought through Amazon via GPS Tracklog. Last month, 2.9% were returned.

Now this leads me to believe that folks who visit GPS Tracklog do their homework, and try to be sure they are getting the right unit for their needs. I strive to make my GPS reviews a one stop location for making well-informed purchases, but in general, you have people who research things and then you have people who don’t. And this website has nothing to do with that.

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.

Comments

  1. Steven Kaiser says:

    The Reason for returns is people use the GPS for a specific trip, then return the GPS. Wal-mart has a no hassle return policy…and people take advantage of it.

  2. That happens a lot of places. I didn’t know they had that good of a policy. Thanks for adding that. I have noticed that they didn’t drop GPS, but they sure are selective about which models they sell.

  3. People “rent” and return these for their trip. So it’s not a surprise that Walmart’s generous return policy is abused.

  4. mike lostinthemountains says:

    I’m not an idiot – I’m an avid technology user and a hiker in the White Mountains of NH. Got mine for Christmas – odered through Amazon. I am lost as to where to even begin with my new Earthmate so I’m abot to return it. You Tube start up video was helpful, but Part 2 is no longer available. This should be included in a CD with the unit and why stop at parts 1&2? Might cut down on frustrated new users.

  5. Yep, the DeLorme units are not user-friendly. You might want to check out their forums for help if you try it a while longer.

  6. Peoria Bill says:

    Wal Mart maybe needs to help guide the new user to the right GPS. Car or Hiking or hunting or marine, etc NUVI’s don’t make good outdoor GPS’s. Outdoor units are not very good at providing quick routable directions. Delorme PN30/40 is an easy to use outdoor GP
    S w/ a full set of TOPO8 maps and Street Atlas for planning trips. Picking the right unit and a few minutes reading the manual would dramatically cut down on returns. For habitual “renters” I would add a restocking fee after the first return per year.. say 15%.

  7. Joe Ouellette says:

    I came from the world of product management and this is a good example of a lack of thinking the process through to help the customer and reduce the PID’s the support.

    No wonder, when I took a good look at the number of GPS units offered by Garmin and Tom-Tom it became very clear that the manufactuters have convoluted the buying process. It is easy to be confused with the buying process. Just look at the questions people ask. These questions are directly related to features and limitations which points to a confusing process of product selection. The Wal mart specifications are very incomplete as to what features each unit supports. My first impression when seeing the products listed is that the manufacturers need to address “product management” in stead of throwing so much stuff up against the wall and hoping the customer will accept a near miss.

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  1. […] Wal-Mart to drop GPS sales due to high rate of returns? – GPS … – Wal-Mart to drop GPS sales due to high rate of returns? … No wonder, when I took a good look at the number of GPS units offered by Garmin and Tom-Tom it became very clear that the manufactuters have convoluted the buying process. […]

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