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Price Drives Customers to Home Improvement Retailers; Staff and Service Keep Them There

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 4 June 2014 — 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 StudySM released today.

“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).

KEY FINDINGS

  • Price is an important reason (47%) for choosing a primary home improvement retailer, an increase from 38 percent in 2013, while staff and service remains the most influential factor differentiating the customer experience once they are at a home improvement retailer.
  • More than one-half (53%) of customers look at the original price first, then sales and promotions, when considering which home improvement retailer to select as their primary store. Fewer customers indicate having received promotional flyers in 2014, compared with 2013 (43% vs. 56%, respectively), with the average number of flyers decreasing to 12 from 17 year over year.
  • Nearly one-fifth (17%) of customers purchase merchandise online from their primary home improvement retailer.
  • The average amount customers spend per year on home improvement merchandise is $1,780 in 2014, compared with $1,626 in 2013—an increase of $154.
  • Among home improvement retailer customers, 28 percent say they “definitely will” repurchase from their home improvement retailer again, and 33 percent “definitely will” recommend their home improvement retailer.
  • Overall customer satisfaction with home improvement retailers is 768 (on a 1,000-point scale), up   from 758 in 2013.

Home Improvement Retailer Satisfaction Rankings

For an eighth consecutive year, Ace Hardware ranks highest in satisfying home improvement retail store customers. Ace Hardware achieves a score of 791 and performs particularly well in the staff and service factor. Menards ranks second with a score of 787 and performs particularly well in the price and sales and promotions factors. 

The 2014 Home Improvement Retailer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 2,900 customers who purchased a home improvement product or service within the previous 12 months from a retail store that sells home improvement products. Customers evaluated their primary home improvement retailer. The study was fielded from January 2014 through March 2014.

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