Part 4: Why Do Loyal Customers Shop at Your Pool Store?

In my last post, I provided proof that there is a significant risk of defection by more than half of all loyal specialty pool retail customers. In our statistically relevant independent survey, 51 percent of Loyalists told us they are not sufficiently satisfied with the overall value received from their retailer. To better understand this threat, we asked Loyalists to identify perceived advantages in shopping at their chosen specialty retailer.

Two Types of Retailer Advantages

As we analyzed the results, we found it important to distinguish between two types of advantages:

Interactive: These advantages involve real-time interactions between staff members and customers. 

Passive: These advantages do not involve interactions between staff members and customers. 

Advantages B4

The chart provides two key areas of insight based upon the retailer’s delivery of each category today. What do Loyalists perceive as their top-ranked shopping advantages?  And conversely, which advantages received lower rankings? 

The Clear, No. 1 Advantage – Knowledgeable Staff 

Nearly 80 percent of Loyalists said the single most important reason they shop at a specialty retailer is more knowledgeable staff (an active advantage). This overwhelming response is almost 20 percent higher than the second reported advantage, availability of product (a passive advantage).

Most retailers, including many that have responded to our blog posts, have told us they do well in delivering the advantages of a more knowledgeable staff. We will examine what Loyalist customers tell us about receiving the knowledge advantage in future blog posts.

Surprise! Superior Service and Strong Personalized Relationships are Not Significant Advantages

• More than 60 percent of Loyalists see no advantage to “superior service.” This is a well-researched fundamental differentiator for all categories of specialty retail, yet most Loyalists just don’t see it as a reason for shopping at their chosen retail store.

• More than 70 percent of Loyalists see no advantage to strong personalized relationships with their retailer. It actually ranked the lowest — even lower than competitive prices.

But this is not what we hear from many retailers. Are these facts wrong or is it possible that some pool retailers underestimate their shortcomings? Could they be living in the past and not seeing that conditions differ today? We will provide more evidence, analysis and comments on all advantages in future blog posts, but we thought these findings were particularly eye-opening.

Your turn

Whether you are a retailer or not, how well are retailers doing in delivering more knowledgeable staff compared to other outlets? Could satisfied retailers be taking too much for granted and making generalizations without evidence?  

Read the previous part of this series: How Satisfied Are Today’s Loyal Pool Retail Customers?
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