DIY Drivers

Customers value lowest price, guarantees, brand variety

HOUSTON -- A-happy-customer-is-a-repeat-customer is an accepted principle of good business, but knowing which drivers make them the happiest is key to their future purchases, according to The NPD Group, a leading market research company. NPD's automotive aftermarket research analyzed different customer satisfaction attributes of do-it-yourself (DIY) auto products customers and finds a direct relationship between the specific attributes of price, guarantees and brand variety and future purchase intention.

According to NPD's Car Care Trac, which is an ongoing survey tracking [image-nocss] consumers' automotive purchases, the percentage of consumers who reported they "definitely will" shop a retailer again in the future declined dramatically as satisfaction with the most recent purchase occasion declined. Seventy-one% of those who rated the most recent purchase occasion as "excellent" said they definitely will shop the retailer again. When looking at those who most recent experience was "very good" the percentage that "definitely will" shop again declined to 41%.

"It appears the difference between 'excellent' and 'very good' could translate into a significant number of future purchases, in which case the level of satisfaction matters," said David Portalatin, industry analyst for NPD's automotive aftermarket unit in Houston. "But automotive retailers don't put satisfaction scores in the bank, which raises the question of whether satisfied customers are always valuable customers."

To understand the value of customer satisfaction in terms of future sales, NPD, using Car Care Trac's consumer ratings on 12 different attributes of their purchase experiences, conducted an advanced analysis at the respondent level to determine which attributes were significant contributors to consumers' overall satisfaction and future purchasing intentions. While more respondents are satisfied with convenient locations, the analysis shows convenient location only explains about 6% of overall satisfaction, while satisfaction with "lowest price available" explains 55% of satisfaction. For the overall DIY market, lowest price, guarantees and brand variety are the top three drivers of overall satisfaction.

"NPD's analysis shows the importance of understanding what really drives satisfaction and future purchase intentions at the total market level," Portalatin said. "Automotive product manufacturers can add greatly to this understanding by further examining the specific nuances of consumers of their categories and brands. Working together retailers and manufacturers can develop strategies to keep happy customers returning again and again."

Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD offers consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries, including automotive, beauty, commercial technology, consumer technology, entertainment, fashion, food and beverage, foodservice, home, office supplies, software, sports, toys and wireless.