Why do so many people love shopping at Ace Hardware?
A new survey of more than 7,800 consumers has found that more name Ace Hardware as their personal favorite place to shop than any other retailer when it comes to home improvement projects.
The research by Market Force Information asked survey participants to rate their satisfaction based on their last experience with a home improvement retailer. They were also asked how likely they were to recommend that retailer to others. The data collected was then averaged to determine the overall loyalty of shoppers to a given business. Brand selection, store cleanliness, merchandise and value were also factored into the scoring.
Ace Hardware achieved a composite loyalty score of 63 percent in Market Force’s rankings. Menards at 60 percent came next, followed by Lowe’s (55 percent) and Home Depot (51 percent).
Ace got the highest marks from consumers for easy to shop stores, customer service and associate knowledge and fast checkouts. Menards was tops when it came to the variety of merchandise offered and value. Lowe’s had the best parking lots. Home Depot, the nation’s largest home improvement chain, was last among shoppers when it came to service.
Only 20 percent of respondents said they participate in a retailer’s loyalty program. Here too, Ace was tops with 67 percent participating. Lowe’s (21 percent), Menards (11 percent) and Home Depot (8 percent) were decidedly less popular.
Market Force is not the only research organization to quantify the connection Ace has with its customers. J.D. Power has put Ace at the top of its customer satisfaction ratings 11 years in a row. This year’s score, announced last month, improved to 816 (on a 1,000 point scale) from 795 in 2016. The study develops its score by assessing five factors: merchandise, price, sales and promotions, staff and service, and store facility.
In 2015, Ace began to try and monetize its reputation for service by launching its Center of Excellence. The division was created to help others improve customer experiences using the Ace approach.
Ace is ranked third in sales (including online) among home improvement retailers in the U.S. following Home Depot and Lowe’s, according to Kantar Retail. Menards is fourth.
- Customer Satisfaction Improves among Home Improvement Retailers, J.D. Power Finds – J.D Power
- Top 100 Retailers Power Players: Hardware/Home Improvement – STORES
- Home Depot and Lowe’s can’t touch Ace for satisfied customers – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What factors do you think are most important when it comes to why consumers select a home improvement store? Does Ace Hardware’s structure as a retailer-owned cooperative somehow empower stores to provide better service? Do you see Ace Hardware being able to convert its service reputation into greater share of the home improvement market in the future?