Price rules, so does Ace, in J.D. Power survey
While staff and service remains the most influential factor in satisfaction once customers are at a home improvement retail store, price is what drives customers to a retailer in the first place, underscoring the importance of competitive differentiation efforts via better price and value perception, according to the J.D. Power 2014 Home Improvement Retailer Satisfaction Study released today.
The survey results also showed Ace Hardware at the top of the 2014 Home Improvement Retailer Satisfaction Study, followed by Menards and Lowe’s.
“For local home improvement retailers to remain competitive with big box retailers, they need to differentiate themselves through promotions, sales and overall pricing to help get customers in the door and then reinforce their decision to visit that store by providing an exceptional staff and service experience once they are there,” said Christina Cooley, director of home improvement industries at J.D. Power. “Conveying price and the value-add story is best accomplished by leveraging communications channels that customers prefer to use. This critical combination of being price competitive and providing superior service may help increase share of wallet and new customer growth.”
The study, now in its eighth year, measures customer satisfaction with home improvement retail stores based on performance in five factors (in alphabetical order): merchandise (including availability, selection of brands available, usefulness of product information displays, and variety of merchandise offered); price; sales and promotions; staff and service (including availability, courtesy, ease of checkout, ease of returning merchandise and knowledge); and store facility (including availability of parking, cleanliness of store, convenience of store location, ease of finding merchandise, and store layout and design).
True Value rolls out new paint center
As paint-aisle competition heats up across the home improvement industry, Chicago-based True Value Company says its new True Value Beauty by Design color center is brushing up stores with enhanced technology and merchandising.
The program description begins with 2,070 colors and ultra-low-VOC colorant system. New tinting equipment, new color computers and new colorants provide the back end of the color centers. Consumer-facing tools include idea cards, color cards, hang tags and designer cards, all created to give confidence to the homeowner.
"Our stores will now be much more consistent at retail in presentation, product and color offerings," said Bruce Frank, global product merchant-paint department. "The rollout includes professional in-store merchandising to ensure that all stores have a great look."
True Value’s brands include Easy Care and Easy Care Platinum for interior projects and Weather All Extreme for exterior projects.
The company said the cost of the rollout — "several million dollars" — is split between True Value and retailers, with retailers offered four-year, no-interest loans toward the investment.
The new offerings are rolling out to 2,000 stores, the co-op said.
The paint category is described as a consistent business for the co-op’s retailers, and revenue is growing slightly. True Value is hoping to continue the paint growth, partly by bringing Benjamin Moore to an additional 250 retail locations over the next three years.
Benjamin Moore was closely linked with Ace Hardware, until Ace signed a deal with Valspar to overhaul its paint offering. At Ace, the national marketing of its new Paint Studio program, described as the co-op’s biggest in-store initiative ever, kicked off earlier this month.
NRHA looks to ‘Top Gun’ Joe Taylor
The NRHA set its sights on Joe Taylor, president and CEO of Taylor’s Do it Centers in Virginia, as one of three 2014 "Top Gun" honorees from around the industry.
Taylor was recognized for his role in continuing the robust legacy of the Taylor’s tradition, which has given rise to 11 retail locations statewide and spans four generations. In acknowledgment of its history, robust numbers and adaptability, It’s credited as one of the nation’s most successful family-owned hardware operations.
With a certain amount of risk-taking that’s beginning to pay off as the housing market thaws, Taylor’s Do it Centers also managed to successfully open four of its 11 stores in the past six years. Presiding over this wave of expansion was Joe.
Taylor got his start in the business at a young age, working part-time in high school and eventually returning after a brief stint at another company after business school, working alongside his two brothers and dad. Today, he continues working together with this family members, occupying the CEO role while his father, Dawson Taylor, serves as chairman.
Joe’s Brother Bob Taylor is CEO of Do it Best Corp.