New Maytag appliance stores opening in cities throughout the U.S. allow customers to test the appliances before purchase. Iowa, U.S.-based Maytag Corp. has helped independent owners across the country set up more than 40 of the try-before-you-buy stores, with plans to triple the number over the next 2 years.
Maytag said it plans to open another 60 stores by the end of 2004 and another 30 to 40 in 2005, said Rian Cain, head of Business Development.
The company says the new stores are targeted toward urban women because according to surveys, women typically make the decision about appliance purchases. Maytag also found that stores with a child-friendly environment and sales people that were accessible, but not hovering, could make customers more welcome.
The first test site opened in 1998 in Des Moines, IA, U.S. and additional stores were then opened and tested before focus groups in Los Angeles, CA, U.S., Phoenix, AZ, U.S., and Atlanta, GA, U.S.
Exit surveys found 84 percent of the customers were satisfied or completely satisfied with their shopping experience, Mr. Cain said. The stores sell most of Maytag's major appliance brands, including Hoover floor care products and Maytag, Amana, and Jenn-Air appliances.
Maytag has traditionally focused a large share of its sales on higher-end buyers. The new stores are part of a strategy to raise consumer awareness of the Maytag brand in the markets where stores are opened.
"We want to create an umbrella in all of these markets that makes it very conducive to hear the story about Maytag, Amana, and Jenn-Air," Mr. Cain said. (Associated Press)
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