Research firm J.D. Power has released its 2019 Home Improvement Retailer Satisfaction Study, and Ace Hardware and True Value have tied for first place for overall customer satisfaction.
The survey gathered data from 2,433 customers who purchased a home improvement product from Ace Hardware, Lowe’s, Menards, The Home Depot or True Value in the past 12 months. The research was conducted in January and February and polled respondents on their thoughts regarding merchandise, price, sales and promotions, staff and service and store facility.
According to the study, one of the crucial factors in achieving higher customer satisfaction was reliable staff knowledge.
Ace Hardware and True Value both performed “significantly above the study average” in regard to staff’s ability to thoroughly explain product features.
Ace Hardware president and CEO John Venhuizen says the award illustrates the commitment to customer service its retailers hold.
“Receiving this recognition from J.D. Power and our customers once again is a tremendous honor,” says Venhuizen. “We are humbled to receive this award, which reflects our Ace owners’ passion for their neighbors and the outstanding service they and their red-vested heroes seek to provide every customer, every time.”
True Value president and CEO John Hartmann says the award is a sign its retailers are focused on helping customers excel with their home improvement projects.
“We are extremely proud of our True Value retailers who work hard to serve their community on a daily basis providing them access to the best products and expert advice needed to complete a project,” says Hartmann. “Recognition from J.D. Power is further validation that our retailers are staying ahead of the curve in a fast-changing retail landscape, capitalizing on a nationally recognized brand with relevant, localized promotions and marketing and winning where it matters most, with customers.”
The E-Commerce and Brick-and-Mortar Connection
In addition to the customer satisfaction rankings, J.D. Power’s study also sheds light on the tangible connection between online searches and brick-and-mortar sales.
Roughly 41 percent of home improvement shoppers research products and/or shop online before making an in-store purchase, the study finds. Most importantly for independent operators, these customers tend to spend more on home improvement products than customers who do not conduct online research, according to the data.
“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,” says Christina Cooley, At 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.”