Survey Shows How Appliance Retailers Can Stay Competitive

August 16, 2013

Appliance retailers need more than just a large selection of appliances or the best prices to satisfy their customers, according to the J.D. Power 2013 Appliance Retailer Satisfaction Study.

The study measures customer satisfaction with the largest appliance retailers based on performance in six factors: sales staff and service; store facility; merchandise; price; delivery service; and installation service. The study finds that in a very competitive market, appliance retailers need to take note of their sales staff and how the needs of customers are met.

"They also must differentiate themselves through their staff greeting and assisting customers quickly; helping them find the right appliance for their needs and ensuring the appliance is delivered on time, in good condition and is installed properly," said Christina Cooley, director of the home improvement practice at J.D. Power.

First impressions of the sales staff are lasting impressions, and they begin when customers walk through the retailer's door. Once salespersons make contact with a customer, it is important that they assess the customer's needs by asking specific questions to narrow their recommendations down to a specific product.

The study finds that 42 percent of customers who purchased a new appliance did so because their previous appliance was broken or defective, while 32 percent purchased because they wanted to upgrade their existing appliances or remodel their kitchen. An additional 20 percent of customers purchased a new appliance because they moved to a new home.

A challenge for retailers is to carry a wide enough variety of appliance models in stock that will best meet all of their customers' specific needs. Findings from the study show that customers' desired appliance was available 62 percent of the time, 21 percent had to be ordered and delivered from another store and 7 percent of the time were available only online.

According to the survey, Lowe's ranks highest in satisfying appliance retail customers for a fourth consecutive year. Lowe's performs particularly well in the store facility, merchandise, price, delivery service and installation service factors. Following Lowe's in the rankings is Sears.

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