Part 9: Do Loyal Consumers See Advantages in Your Product Line?

I have often heard the belief that consumers are loyal to specialty pool retailers because of a unique product line. We put this belief to the test in our independent survey. To be sure we did not miss anything, and to avoid confusion by survey-takers, we included both “product range” and “product availability” attributes in our definition of product line. 


On their own, product line advantages are limited

In the world of pool products, where retailers do not create and sell their own products but instead stock and sell products from other manufacturers, true product performance-based competitive advantages are limited. That is likely why only 39 percent of Loyalists see product range and availability as an advantage. But 62 percent of these Loyalists are extremely satisfied with overall value. They expect to find what they are looking for at their chosen specialty retailer, and in the majority of cases they find it. 

Product advantages rely on people  

Most pool products have a degree of complexity that requires knowledgeable employees and superior service to create advantage. Maximizing product value relies heavily on interactive exchange between store employees and consumers to bring advantages to life. This research specifically points to knowledgeable employees and superior service as vitally linked to creating advantage through products. In future posts I will provide insight into the “secret sauce” — for Loyalists who see all three as an advantage, satisfaction with overall value jumps to 85 percent!  

Just like other passive advantages such as location, if you don’t have sufficient range and availability of products, perhaps nothing else matters. So it is wise to watch out for new as well as obsolete products. But it should be considered a necessary foundation on which more interactive value drivers are implemented. 

Nonloyalists do not connect product with overall value

Only 24 percent of Nonloyalists that see product line advantages are extremely satisfied with overall retailer value. Winning over this category requires improvement in delivering advantages through knowledgeable employees and superior service.

Your turn

I sense that readers want to know about other retailers experience in this area. 

  • What do you think about your competitive advantage with your product line? 
  • How important are knowledgeable employees and superior service to realizing product advantages? 
  • How are your employees performing in this area?  
  • Have you surveyed your Loyalists to find out? 
  • What have you learned in this area that would help readers?

 Read the previous post in this series: How Important is Your Store's Location?

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