Part 17: How Do Nonloyal Retail Pool Customers Shop?

So far, my series has focused on the 55 percent of shoppers who are loyal to one single specialty retail store (Loyalists). This post will examine those consumers who have no shopping loyalty (Nonloyalists). As a group they are still very important; after all, they make up 45 percent of all inground pool owners and are a potential source of growth. We sought to understand how many Nonloyalists come into specialty retail stores regardless of preference, so we asked the following question:


Price and location are not the only priorities

It should come as no surprise that our research found Nonloyalists shop primarily based on price and location. But as seen in the chart, an astounding 75 percent told us they still shop at a specialty retail store on occasion. Further research identified their primary reasons:

  • The specialty retail location is just too convenient to ignore.
  • The consumer may be seeking help for a particular problem. 
  • The consumer seeks to gain knowledge of pool products before perhaps shopping elsewhere.
  • The consumer is searching for specific products. 

Many Nonloyalists are former Loyalists who defected

It will surprise most specialty retailers that 17 percent of Nonloyalists are former customers who stopped shopping with them. This is a huge leak that needs to be more professionally addressed. Note that the last three items are part of the "secret sauce" (applied knowledge and product line). The simple fact that any of these shoppers are in front of your employees creates an opportunity to convert them to Loyalists. And they are telling us the main reason they come into your store is to get served the secret sauce. But retailers just aren't delivering the goods…yet! 

The only real advantage

Having properly trained store employees is the only realistic approach to converting Nonloyalists who depend more heavily on the Internet, other pool owners and product reviews as information sources. Certainly not everyone will be a suitable prospect. The mix of this group ranges from those who will “pick your brain and go elsewhere” to those who have just not yet had suitable exposure to the overall specialty retail value mix we call the secret sauce.  Understanding the difference is critical to running a healthy specialty retail business. Spending courteous but minimal time with the “dead-end streets” while not overlooking the opportunities requires training and development.   

Your turn 

We often find that retailers admit they do not spend sufficient time helping employees understand exactly who their loyal customers are…and who they're not. It is only when employees are sufficiently knowledgeable in this area that they have the ability to use the secret sauce to make a difference. What are your thoughts and experiences?

Read the previous post in this series: How Do Loyal Retail Customers Change Over Time?

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