Hhgregg tops list for appliance shopping websites

Hhgregg (NYSE:HGG) ranked the highest among appliance retailer websites in a recent J.D. Power 2014 Appliance Shopper Website Evaluation Study. The study indicated that 76 percent of shoppers found that retailer websites are highly useful when shopping for appliances, and that product reviews are becoming increasingly important.

The annual study used four factors to determine how user-friendly a retailer's website is: information/content, navigation, appearance and speed.

"Often, brand websites are considered a trusted place for consumers to begin their research process when shopping for an appliance. However, the sites don't always emphasize the importance of product reviews," said Dan Lawlor, director of research operations at J.D. Power. "Retailer websites focus less on features and add-ons but highlight product reviews. Brands are missing a great opportunity to satisfy customers by highlighting the relevant product reviews in addition to product, model and feature information."

Hhgregg, with a score of 865, was up 41 points from 2013, due to an increase in the speed of its website and a redesign of the website's review section to include the highest and lowest customer appliance ratings at the top of the interface. Just behind hhgregg on the list are Home Depot (NYSE:HD), 842 points, and, tied for third, Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) and Lowe's (NYSE:LOW), 839 points.

Despite its new accolade, hhgregg just suffered a difficult quarter, reporting a net loss of $10.3 million. Conversely, Home Depot had a stellar first quarter for e-commerce: Its online sales grew 39 percent.

When looking at brand websites, GE Appliances ranked the highest, 835 points, followed by Frigidaire, 824 points, and Bosch, 821 points. Frigidaire was up from eighth place last year due to an increase in information/content satisfaction.

The study revealed that customer satisfaction with appliance brand websites is higher when shoppers access them using a computer instead of a smartphone or tablet. Contrastingly, satisfaction with retailer websites tends to be higher when customers us a tablet, as opposed to a computer or smartphone.

No matter how they are accessed, retail websites play an important roll, even in the physical shopping experience: Fifty-seven percent of smartphone and tablet owners access content while at a physical store location.

Other key findings show that using a smartphone or tablet to research consumer information has increased to 26 percent, up from 20 percent in 2013.

For more:
-See this J.D. Power press release

Related stories:
Home Depot reports strongest same-store growth in 14 years
Home Depot acquires blinds.com
Home Depot finally bids farewell to fax machines
Home Depot hiring 6,300 employees in Canada
Home Depot to host 700 hurricane preparedness clinics