TECHNOLOGY

Customers most satisfied with these appliance retailers

BY Marianne Wilson

Best Buy ranks highest in customer satisfaction in the $24 billion-plus appliance market.

That's according to the J.D. Power 2017 Appliance Retailer Satisfaction Study. With a score of 857, Best Buy came out on top, ahead of Lowe's (840), The Home Depot (839), Hhgregg (831) and Sears (828). Overall satisfaction with appliance retailers in 2017 is 838 points, up from 821 in 2016.

The study found that having sales staff greets customers promptly has the greatest impact on customer satisfaction. The other key performance indicators (in order of importance) are having the salesperson thank a customer for the purchase; and a neatly arranged appliance display. When each of these top three indicators are met, 50% of customers say they "definitely will" repurchase from the retailer. When only two are met, that percentage drops to 29%. When just one KPI is met, the percentage drops even further to 17%.

“Staying true to such sales basics as customer greeting, appreciation and clean displays are proving to be important aspects related to increased customer satisfaction," said Greg Truex, senior director of the at-home practice at J.D. Power. "By training staff to be attentive to both customer and visual details, retailers may be able to keep those loyal customers and increase sales as the market increases over the next few years."

From the initial in-store greeting to receiving assistance from a store employee, timeliness is the key to customer satisfaction, as the expectation for these interactions to occur is two minutes or less. Customer satisfaction drops significantly from 881 (on a 1,000-point scale) to 834 when the initial greeting takes more than two minutes.

It is also critical for store employees to respond in a timely manner when a customer asks for help. Similarly, overall satisfaction declines significantly when a customer waits more than two minutes to be assisted, compared with waiting less than two minutes (830 vs. 870, respectively).

Following are some loyalty findings of the study:

• Among delighted customers (overall satisfaction scores of 901 and above), 69% say they "definitely will" repurchase from the retailer, compared with the overall study average of 39%.

• Nearly three-fourths (74%) of delighted appliance retailer customers say they "definitely will" recommend the retailer to others, compared with the overall study average of 43%.

• Among delighted customers, the average number of positive recommendations is 4.0, compared with the overall study average of 2.7.

Now in its 10th year, the Appliance Retailer Satisfaction Study measures customer satisfaction with appliance retailers by examining seven factors (in order of importance): sales staff and service; store facility; price; delivery service; sales and promotions; merchandise; and installation service. The study is based on responses from 2,822 customers who purchased major home appliances from a multiregional appliance retailer within the previous 12 months.

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TECHNOLOGY

Vineyard Vines uses social media data to drive sales

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

The brand best known for its smiling pink whale logo is improving pricing, design and buying decisions by using an innovative data source.

By partnering with First Insight, Vineyard Vines will leverage the company’s online social engagement tools to gather real-time product pricing and sentiment data from its customers. This information will then be analyzed by First Insight’s predictive models.

Results will enable Vineyard Vines to more quickly and accurately make design, buying and pricing decisions that improve sales, margins and inventory turnover both in stores and online. Specifically, “the voice of the customer” will help the retailer increase speed to market with the right styles, targeted to their core customer.

“Through First Insight’s predictive analytics, we will gain visibility into our customers’ preferences in a way that hasn’t been possible for us before,” said Mike Gaumer, president of Vineyard Vines.

The retailer validated the solution’s return on investment (ROI) by measuring a direct increase in online conversions and full-price sales. “Ultimately, First Insight is helping us deliver on two of our corporate goals; building great relationships with our customers and driving profitable sales,” Gaumer added. “By bringing winning products to market that align with the needs of our distinct customer base, we will increase traffic both in-store and online while engaging our customers more effectively.”

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TECHNOLOGY

Study: What consumers expect when they buy online, pick up in store

BY Haroon Abbu, Ph.D.

In the age of evolving consumer preferences enabled by digital technologies, customers continue demanding convenience and ease of use while shopping online. Additionally, they want instant gratification of purchasing items in the store and, increasingly, a combination of the two. To this effect, the buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS) option, or click and collect experience, has become a key component of customer satisfaction, loyalty and revenue growth.

For retailers, click and collect has become a key component of their overall digital commerce strategy, allowing them to leverage their brick-and-mortar stores to provide a more convenient and personal buying experience while helping them save money. Once the online customer is physically in the store to pick up their items, businesses have a unique opportunity to entice them to make additional purchases. In fact, 69% of consumers who used BOPIS this past holiday season purchased additional items while picking up in a store. Additionally, 36% of shoppers using those types of services made another purchase in an adjacent store at the time of pickup.

Bell and Howell conducted a survey-based study of 530 random shoppers from across the United States to analyze what these shoppers believe to be most important about their click-and- collect experience.(Seventy percent of the shoppers used the option in the last year.) The study revealed that the three essential elements of click-and-collect are cost, speed and convenience.

Here are some key findings from the study:

• Financial motivation (i.e., saving on shipping charges) was the key driver (76%) for selecting the BOPIS option. Speed and convenience (the urgency of picking up an item on the same day) was next in importance.

• A quick in-and-out experience is at the top of customers’ minds while picking up items at the store. No waiting in line, ease of finding the pickup location, a dedicated pickup counter, and designated parking spots may contribute to the quick in-and-out experience.

• When it comes to being notified, speed was once again the consistent theme, as 83% expected to hear back within 24 hours or less after placing an order online that their item is ready for pickup. Nearly 60% expected to hear within the first four hours.

• Convenience was the key driver for pickup location, as 77% preferred to pick up their items either at the front of the store or curbside. Only 8% were willing to pick up their items at the back of the store.

• Eighty percent expect to be able pick up their items in under 10 minutes from the time they enter the store, with a full 27% expecting less than four minutes

• Consumers rated filling orders accurately and in time as the most important aspect of an excellent experience. The option to pay in-store, a try-and-buy option, and dedicated parking spots are less important.

Summary

It is clear from the study that consumers want speed, convenience and timely communication for a better BOPIS experience. Currently, a small portion of total purchases are completed through click and collect, but it is growing in use, with 49% of Americans trying it for the first time in 2016.

Retailers can benefit from creating a winning in-store experience — 59% of buyers expect to purchase additional items at least some of the time. Retailers should explore if they can provide incentives to convert the 41% of customers who are not likely to purchase additional items.

It is interesting to note that 77% of shoppers did not want to be dragged all the way to the back of the store to pick up their items. Businesses should balance their financial motives to upsell patrons entering their stores to pick up their items with the speed and convenience that they expect.

Retailers should focus on creating a winning in-store experience by enabling what matters most to click and collect consumers: speed, convenience and timely communication.


Haroon Abbu is senior director of data and analytics at Bell and Howell.

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