Study Shows Online and On-Location Sales Must Work in Tandem

June 12th, 2019 by Amber Galaviz

According to study results recently released by J.D. Power, Ace Hardware and True Value were among the highest ranked home improvement retailers for customer satisfaction. Results also reveal that 41% of customers are browsing businesses online prior to making in-store purchases, while desiring more from their experiences on retailers’ websites.

J.D. Power conducts its Home Improvement Retailer Satisfaction Study annually. This year, the study, fielded between January and February 2019, includes responses from 2,433 customers who purchased a home-improvement-related item from a home improvement retailer in the previous 12 months. Results measure customer satisfaction with those retailers in five areas: merchandise; price; sales and promotions; staff and service; and store facility.

In a statement released by J.D. Power, officials estimate that the total sales for home improvement products in 2019 will reach $420 billion—a 5% increase from 2018. In the meantime, study results reveal that customers who search retailers’ websites prior to going to stores spend an average of $620 more annually than customers who just shop in store. As a result, customers’ experiences online are just as vital to overall satisfaction, the report suggests.

“The proliferation of home-improvement-related sites, services and tutorials on the web creates a complex set of challenges and opportunities for brick-and-mortar home improvement retailers,” said Christina Cooley, a home intelligence lead at J.D. Power. “Online retailers do introduce new competition, but when traditional retailers get their online/offline formula right, they are able to really differentiate by offering a level of personalized knowledge and expertise that cannot be replicated in an online-only environment. Many retailers still have work to do to, though, when it comes to creating satisfying online experiences.”

According to the study, customer satisfaction among those visiting home improvement retail websites ranked 821 out of a 1,000-point scale, while those who visited social networking sites had an overall satisfaction score of 869, followed by image and video sharing websites (843) and those who visited websites (832).

Ace Hardware and True Value tied for highest customer satisfaction, with a total of 840 points and high scores in overall satisfaction, staff and service, and store facility. Both retailers also had above average scores in sales and promotions. Lowe’s received the highest score among the home improvement retailers in merchandise selection and a total of 834 points. Menards had 833 points overall, ranking highest in the price and sales, and promotions categories. Meanwhile, The Home Depot ranked about average in each of the five categories, with a total score of 823.

According to the study, when staff at a home improvement retailer provides assistance to customers within two minutes, there is an increase of 67 points on overall customer satisfaction.

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