June 8, 2006, 12:00 AM

Whirlpool takes consumers on a shopping spree

To help better position its brand online and off, Whirlpool followed consumers as they shopped for appliances, then created web site experiences that related to the personas that Whirlpool identified.


Like a detective tailing his prey, employees at Whirlpool Corp. followed consumers as they shopped for appliances. The pursuers, though, were spotted because the shoppers were members of focus groups Whirlpool chose for a field trip experiment in brand positioning.

To uncover the rationale and intangible factors of the decision making process of shoppers, the company decided to go out to stores to deduce why consumers purchase certain products. The result helped Whirlpool in its effort to better position its brand across multiple sales channels, says William Kurtz, national manager of business development, said June 7 in a Featured Presentation titled “The Web’s Key Role in Positioning a Manufacturer’s Brand” at the Internet Retailer 2006 Conference & Exhibition.

“Based on our findings we created seven shopper personas that helped us redesign our web site, an informational and marketing tool,” Kurtz said. “The redesign focused on the goals of these types of consumers and the tasks they perform to achieve them.”

The personas include shoppers who already own an appliance from any company but want to learn more about appliances; are building a new home or want to upgrade an existing product; are distressed because they must immediately replace an old appliance, or are predisposed to buying Whirlpool but require more information.

“User-based site design and content can easily translate into loyalty,” Kurtz said, “and that helps best position a brand.”


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