Google just announced last week that uBreakiFix will be their exclusive partner for same day walk-in screen replacements for their newly released Pixel and Pixel XL devices.
Consumers can walk-in to one of uBreakiFix’s 250 retail locations across the US and have their cracked screen repaired for $130 for the Pixel model and $150 for Pixel XL.
Cracked screen users can also mail-in their devices which are serviced at uBreakiFix’s HQ in Orlando, Florida.
This could be a trend setter.
For the first time, a phone manufacture has chosen a 3rd party repair franchise to service their phones AND uniquely support their back end logistic efforts in doing so.
Read on to find out how this might impact the repair industry and why every repair shop owner should pay close attention to how this plays out.
Details of Partnership
Insurance cost $99 for both the Pixel and Pixel XL models and includes 2 claims over a 2 year period for accidental damage covering drops, cracked screens and water damage. A claim will not cover Lost/Stolen devices and all claims will require a deductible of either $79 for Google Pixel or $99 for Google Pixel XL.
uBreakiFix will only be servicing Google Pixel/XL models where the end user did not opt-in for insurance when they initially purchased their device from the Play Store or Google’s exclusive retailer, Verizon.
While there has been no mention of specific details, it’s very likely that Google will provide brand new OEM replacement LCD screens to uBreakiFix at/near cost or at no cost at all.
Users can walk-in to one of uBreakiFix’s ~250 retail locations or use their mail-in repair program for users who are not within distance of one of their retail establishments.
Partnering with Google will also provide uBreakiFix with expert advice and documentation on how to best service Pixel devices.
A flat fee per repair job is the most likely compensation for such an arrangement.
uBreakiFix will completely avoid the constant challenge of sourcing quality parts and volatile changes in parts pricing that seem to make or break successful repair businesses these days and allow uBreakiFix to concentrate all their efforts on providing quality repairs.
A win-win for consumers, uBreakiFix and Google.
Necessary for Google?
Such a partnership seems almost necessary for Google.
Google’s plan has always been to “Go big or go home” but that can’t happen overnight on their 2nd major release.
Apple releases it’s new models in over 80 countries. Google released in only 5; Australia, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom and the United States.
Device manufacturing will be minuscule in comparison to Apple’s theme park size factories, limiting the surplus availability they would often use to exchange broken devices at wireless establishments rather than repair on-site.
For this, you need big distribution channels and supplying all of these locations with enough brand new phones has always been a costly challenge.
Even so, Verizon is the only current retailer expected to sell Pixel devices which limits the coverage area for potential over-the-counter exchanges.
With a limited distribution footprint, an alternative option was necessary.
Partnering with a nationwide retail repair franchise who also has a mail-in program will ease the strain on Google’s supply chain. Users will also be happy to have an officially sponsored speedy repair option as well.
Such a partnership with uBreakiFix wasn’t Google’s only available option. After all, they’ve reported $75.3 Billion in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities in it’s 2016 Q1 earnings release.
They just as easily could have manufactured enough devices to cover exchanges for units not covered by an insurance or warranty plan, created their own repair operations or bought out a business unit that covers their needs.
Something must be behind this decision.
The top three of Google’s Company beliefs are to:
- Focus on the user and all else will follow.
- It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
- Fast is better than slow
Such a partnership will allow them to stay focused on all of these points.
This unique arrangement will give consumers their original device back and avoid the hassle of restoring their old data. Instant gratification with same day repair service sweetens the deal.
Something Apple and Samsung have yet to accomplish themselves.
The repair price is also fairly attractive and mimics Apple’s new and improved out-of-warranty screen replacement service.
In comparison to Apple, Samsung is lagging behind without their own branded retail outlets and will surely be paying close attention to the partnerships success as a way to expand their post-sale support in similar fashion.
If so, Apple might also look to follow the trend in some capacity.
What will be most interesting to watch out for is Google’s willingness to support other 3rd party repair shops by means of making available reasonably prices replacement screens into the supply chain.
If so, the repair industry, consumers and Google’s image will be big winners.
If not, a majority of cracked LCD screens will be controlled by the partnership resulting in a very limited amount of replacement screens being available in the open market.
Of course, this would result in costly replacement parts that make it very hard to compete with the partnership’s offer.
The bottom line is that Google has stepped out into uncharted territory by making a decision that shows their faith in the 3rd party repair industries ability to directly service an OEM’s needs.
Overall success could result in changes that shake things up a bit.
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