MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

J.D. Power survey: Hhgregg, Lowe’s highest in consumer satisfaction

BY Marianne Wilson

Westlake Village, Calif. — Hhgregg ranks highest in appliance retailer customer satisfaction, followed by Lowe’s, according to the J.D. Power 2014 Appliance Retailer Satisfaction Study. The survey found that a knowledgeable sales staff providing a prompt, courteous and engaging customer service experience helps drive satisfaction with home appliance retailer.

Hhgregg had a score of 819 (on a 1,000-point scale) and performed particularly well in the sales staff, delivery and installation service factors. Lowe’s (815) performed well in the store facility and price factors, and ties with Sears in the merchandise factor.

While price remains a leading driver for more than half of customers when selecting an appliance store, retailers can’t rely on price alone to remain competitive," said Christina Cooley, director of the home improvement practice at J.D. Power. "The sales staff has an opportunity to differentiate the customer experience through engagement activities from the moment a customer walks in the door, all the way through appliance selection, delivery and installation. It’s the simple engagement activities — those that don’t require extensive training — that have a huge impact on customer satisfaction."

Key findings of the survey include:

• Providing a knowledgeable, courteous and readily available sales staff is key in driving a satisfying customer experience.

• More than nine-in-10 (91%) customers indicate that staff was available to assist them during their recent appliance shopping experience and 77& indicate they were greeted promptly. Among customers who engage with the appliance retail sales staff, 86% indicate the staff listened to their questions and concerns.

• In 2014, fewer customers indicate that multiple brands were discussed while shopping than in 2013 (58% versus 63%, respectively), but only 14% say the salesperson tried to steer them toward a specific brand.

• More than three-fourths (77%) of customers indicate the store carried all of the brands they were seeking, and 63% indicate the retailer had the desired appliance in stock at the store.

• More than one-half (52%) of customers rely on the appliance retailer to deliver and install their new appliances.

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REAL ESTATE

Nordstrom to close Florida Mall store

BY Marianne Wilson

Orlando, Fla. — Nordstrom announced plans to shutter its store in the Florida Mall Orlando, Florida. Originally opened in 2002, the store will close its doors on August 16, 2014.

"We never like to close a store because we create such great relationships with our customers and employees – and over the past 12 years we’ve certainly done that here at our Florida Mall store," said Jamie Nordstrom, president of stores for the company. "Our lease for the store is up. To make a long-term commitment to this community and renew our lease, we would need to make a significant investment in this store so that we’re not offering our customers a substandard experience. Despite our team’s best efforts, the store’s performance doesn’t support making that kind of investment."

Nordstrom said it remains committed to serving customers in Orlando at its Millenia Crossing Rack, one of 10 Racks in the state, and at the company’s other eight Nordstrom full-line stores in Florida.

The retailer is also opening a new full-line store at St. Johns Town Center in Jacksonville on Oct. 10 and two new Rack stores in West Palm Beach (Oct. 9) and Lake Brandon (Oct. 30).

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Sears expands Shop Your Way program

BY Marianne Wilson

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears Holdings is extending its Shop Your Way membership program with a major expansion of its rewards program with the addition of more than 50 brand-name partners. Once the exclusive membership program of Sears, Kmart and Lands’ End, Shop Your Way will not include more partners in more categories.

"Members are already shopping for many of these products and services and now they can be rewarded for it," said Eric Jaffe, senior VP of Shop Your Way. "Our goal is to make it easy to earn rewards wherever you shop, and our growing partner network shows we are poised to deliver."

Shop Your Way partners include Burger King, Groupon, Avis Car Rental, Hearst Magazines, Budget, 1-800-Floers, Red Envelope, LifeLock, ScoreBig, and Shoney’s. Examples of discounts and rewards include $25-$50 in points back on services; up to 10% back in points on events and entertainment tickets; and two-percent or more in points at thousands of restaurants.

Burger King is among the partners contributing to Shop Your Way’s expanded rewards offering via the card link program: Members register their eligible Visa or MasterCard debit or credit cards one time, then automatically earn points every time they make a qualifying purchase with a participating partner.

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