Service outweighs price in appliance survey
A customer satisfaction survey by J.D. Powers and Associates found that sales, delivery and installation service are slightly more important than facilities, product assortment and price when it comes to buying major appliances.
Combined, the importance of the sales staff, delivery and installation service factors slightly exceed the combined importance of the store facility, merchandise and price factors (51% versus 49%, respectively). Courtesy of the sales staff is the most important aspect within the sales staff and service factor, while courtesy of delivery personnel is the most important element of delivery service.
"Appliance retailers often try to compete on price and merchandise, but the main differentiator when it comes to satisfaction is having knowledgeable and courteous staff available to assess and help meet customer needs," said Jim Howland, senior director of the real estate and construction practice at J.D. Power and Associates.
Lowe’s ranked highest in customer satisfaction with appliance retailers for a second consecutive year, achieving a score of 807 on a 1,000-point scale. The North Carolina home improvement chain performed particularly well in four of the six factors: store facility, price, delivery service and installation service. Following Lowe’s in the ranking were hhgregg (799), Sears (793) and Home Depot (783).
The 2011 Appliance Retailer Study is based on responses from more than 4,400 customers who purchased a laundry or kitchen appliance within the previous 24 months from a major appliance retailer. The study was fielded between March and April 2011.
Empire Level commits to “Made in USA” approach
Mukwonago, Wis.-based Empire Level Manufacturing Corp. said "Made in USA" products are playing a bigger role in its performance and marketing.
The company pointed to stats showing an increase of 20% in revenue from "Made in USA" products, compared with five years ago. Also, 80% of Empire Level’s products are now manufactured and assembled entirely in the United States.
“As the fifth-generation family member to serve as president of Empire Level, I have made it my mission to manufacture as much as possible in the USA,” said Jenni Becker, president. “This company was built on innovation, and we decided that we could innovate our way back to our ‘Made in USA’ roots, through a combination of revolutionary product design and original, patented manufacturing processes. That ‘can-do attitude’ is part of our DNA, and we have been very successful in our efforts to bring our products home.”
The company’s research has shown that more than 60% of professional contractors prefer to buy tools that are made in the United States, and are even willing to pay more for them. A 2009 Yankelovich study found that about 40% of consumers from all demographic age ranges — Millenials, Xers, Boomers and Mature adults — have a strong preference for buying products that are "Made in USA," and almost 70% consider buying American products as part of their duty as U.S. citizens.
AHMA Industry Confidence Index shows mixed results in July
The American Hardware Manufacturers Association (AHMA) announced mixed results from its AHMA Home Improvement Industry Confidence Index for the month of July.
The Current Situation Index was reported to have risen to 225 in July, up from 166.7 in June. Also, 54% of survey respondents said sales were higher in July in comparison to those from one year ago, up from 40% in June. Some 18% reported sales were even, and 29% said sales had decreased since last year.
The Future Expectations Index declined from 213.8 in June to 193.1 in July. Only 44% of respondents in July reported that they expect sales to increase in the coming six months, down from 56% in June, with 44% expecting that sales will be even in the coming six months.
The survey showed 11% predicted sales below current levels in the next six months. For the coming year, 68% of respondents, the same percentage as in the June survey, said they expect that sales will increase above current levels in the next year, with 21% predicting even sales a year from now, and 11% expecting sales to decline below current levels.