Satisfaction with Bosch appliances has never been worse. Where did it all go wrong?

It’s a new record for household appliances – and not in a good way.

Customer satisfaction with the industry – including washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, ranges/ovens, and over-the-oven microwaves – slides 1.3% to a new all-time low score of 78 (out of 100), per our latest Household Appliance and Electronics Study.

But the bad news doesn’t stop there.

Nearly all the major brands we measured experience satisfaction slips. However, none more so than Bosch, which nosedives 6% to the bottom of the industry at 74.

How did this major appliance manufacturer go from near the top of the category to its worst-ever mark? Let’s take a look.

Earnings up, stock down

Bosch reported strong Q4 earnings, with a five-fold increase in net profits and 44% revenue growth year over year. Yet, the stock tumbled, and the company ended up making significant changes to its board.

Are we surprised? Not really.

Satisfaction is a strong indicator of an organization’s financial performance. Historically, stocks of companies with high ACSI scores perform stronger than companies with low scores. 

For Bosch, the chasm between revenue growth and stock decline seemed to predict what our data now confirms: The company was struggling to keep customers satisfied.  

A less-than-satisfying experience

This is the first year we measured customer experience benchmarks for household appliances. Bosch did not fare well.

From mobile quality and mobile reliability to durability and exterior design, from website satisfaction and warranty coverage to service technician courtesy and outcome of the service repair, and so on, Bosch was at or near the bottom in every single one.  

Not exactly an ideal place to start. Unfortunately, as much as we’d like to say there’s nowhere to go but up, that’s not entirely true.

Appliance and chip shortages remain problematic

COVID-19 brought about a national appliance shortage, and it’s not going away. 

According to one retailer, his three top-rated dishwashers were on back order were four months. Can you guess the manufacturer? If you said Bosch for all three, congratulations, come up and collect your prize.

The global chip shortage is also wreaking havoc. According to BSH – maker of Bosch appliances – some products are facing lead times of up to six months. 

In the end, the consumers are going to end up suffering the most, as they can expect higher prices and longer wait times for the appliances they want.

What’s Bosch’s next move? 

If Bosch is hoping for a cure-all for its satisfaction woes, it’s out of luck. 

The appliance manufacturer has a lot of ground to make up, and until this chip shortage gets sorted out, it could be years before production fully recovers. 

The only silver lining – if you can call it that – is that other household appliance companies are in a similar boat. This year, GE Appliances (Haier) slides 3% to 78, while Whirlpool hits an all-time satisfaction low after dropping 3% to a score of 77.

Sure, Bosch is firmly planted at the bottom of the industry. But the consumers have spoken and laid out their expectations. It’s now up to Bosch to clean up its mess. 

Why the Macy’s and Toys R Us’ partnership could turn the ‘shop-in-shop’ model on its head

The “shop-in-shop” concept is not new.

Sephora has been putting mini shops in JCPenney stores for over a decade, and it’s now doing the same with Kohl’s. Ulta Beauty and Target have a similar arrangement, while Apple will open mini stores in 17 Targets, with plans for further expansion.

So, when word of Macy’s and Toys R Us’ new partnership broke – which includes a “shop-in-shop” strategy – it felt like a non-story. But that’s not entirely true. 

Despite following a repeated model, this case is more unique and could have bigger windfalls that redefine how these partnerships are approached in the future. Let us explain. 

Macy’s is bringing toy stores back

Unlike Sephora, Ulta, and Apple, Toys R Us is not a thriving standalone brick-and-mortar retail brand. In fact, it’s not a brick-and-mortar anything. That’s about to change.

Next year, Toys R Us will be in over 400 Macy’s department stores. In other words, save for the rare mom-and-pop shop, Macy’s is essentially bringing back physical toy stores – a place where kids (and adults) can play with actual toys. And that opens a world of possibilities. 

For Toys R Us, it’s the chance to hitch its wagon to a relevant brand and dip its toes back into the retail game without overextending. For Macy’s, it’s a chance to recreate the ultimate department store experience of yesteryear – a little Miracle on 34th Street magic, if you will. And boy do they need it.

Department stores were struggling before COVID-19 cut off foot traffic and sent in-sales stores plummeting. The pandemic hasn’t helped. Macy’s same-store sales dropped by more than 20%, and the company announced it’ll be closing dozens of stores this year. Further, in our most recent Retail and Consumer Shipping Report, customer satisfaction with Macy’s dropped 1% to a score of 77 among department and discount stores. 

With this new arrangement, Macy’s has signaled it isn’t ready to give up just yet. It’s looking to flip the script, transforming into a one-stop shop for shoes, shirts, pants, ties, makeup, and toys. Macy’s can position itself as a place the whole family can enjoy. Talk about marketability. 

And the benefits are not limited to the physical retail space.

A new place to purchase toys online

For a stretch, Target ran Toys R Us’ website. Now, that honor belongs to Macy’s. It couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.

On the internet retail side, customer satisfaction with Macy’s tumbled 4% to 77. The retailer now sits below the industry average. 

Although Macy’s is struggling from a satisfaction standpoint, the retailer has a growing online customer base and a burgeoning toy business. Powering Toys R Us’ website should only improve its standing in the space.

Meanwhile, Toys R Us, which still has name recognition, gets prime real estate on the Macy’s website, likely expanding its reach to new customers. It’s a real win-win possibility. 

The reward outweighs the risk 

There’s always risk in deals like these. And there are no guarantees that this will be a fruitful partnership. But it feels like a risk worth taking.

Macy’s customer satisfaction was slipping both in-store and online, and it needed a jolt. Toys R Us, well, do you really need to ask?

Together, however, there’s something exciting brewing. 

Whether you’re searching for a new place to shop for toys online or eager for the chance to get your hands on the toys themselves, this Macy’s and Toys R Us partnership has all the makings of a slam dunk.