Earlier this year LL Bean made the news after they announced they were discontinuing their Lifetime Product Guarantee.  Of course, a subset of customers were dismayed and ranted on social media channels.

Instead of vilifying LL Bean, let’s applaud them for making the unpopular announcement and for making the difficult business decision to essentially reject a subset of “customers” in favor of serving a larger set of profitable customers.

  • Those upset by the announcement were likely looking to game the system anyway. After all, what reasonable person assumes that a “lifetime” warranty means forever?  Lifetimes are limited unless you’re immortal.
  • Those who stand by LL Bean will continue to enjoy a variety of high-quality products supported by a knowledgeable team of employees. No the products won’t last forever.
  • Those who feel that they paid a premium for the lifetime guarantee are still eligible for it.

To me, it feels fair.

And more than that, it feels as if LL Bean has taken a step to align themselves more closely with the kind of customers (market) they want to serve.  By shedding the customers who take advantage of the system, LL Bean will be in a better position to serve desirable customers.

The pivot point is that just because a customer has money doesn’t make them a good fit for your business.  Caveat venditor is just as valid as caveat emptor.

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LL Bean’s Decision to Heed “Caveat Venditor”
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