No matter who you are, the following fact might tell you everything you need to know about buying your next washer and dryer: Women prefer Speed Queen.
For more than a century, Speed Queen has made commercial-grade washers and dryers for laundromats, hospitals and hotels. The Wisconsin-based company also makes washers and dryers with the same tough quality for the home, but the brand isn't sold in big-box stores and therefore might not be top-of-mind for everyone.
However, Speed Queen is certainly top-of-mind — and at the top of the shopping list — when it comes to the savviest consumers on the planet: women.
A real seal of approval
In the United States, women earn, spend and influence consumer spending at a greater rate than ever before, accounting for $7 trillion in consumer and business spending in the U.S. alone, according to Levelwing, a digital marketing firm specializing in media, social and analytics services for major businesses.
According to Nielsen Research, 9 out of 10 consumers seek out the recommendation of others before making a major decision, and 9 out of 10 women "definitely" trust a brand more if it carries the Women's Choice Award seal, according to Medelia Monitor, an independent women's research company.
Speed Queen was recently honored with a seal of excellence from Women's Choice Award, a consumer advocacy organization that surveys women across America about brands they most highly recommend to family and friends. Speed Queen was also named the best luxury washer and dryer brand in America.
"The Women's Choice Award is a trusted referral source for women," said Delia Passi, founder and CEO of the Fort Lauderdale-based group. "It empowers them to make better consumer choices based on the recommendation of other women who have tried and tested and would recommend that brand."
The Women's Choice Award seal represents pocketbook support from large numbers of discerning female consumers and provides invaluable feedback for companies like Speed Queen, Passi said. That's especially important in an uber-competitive marketplace where companies may stand or die on customer comments and reviews found 24/7 via consumer websites, social media and old-fashioned word-of-mouth.
Avoiding risk, making better choices
The Women's Choice Award teamed up with the Wharton School of Business years ago to conduct gender-based customer experience studies. It found that women appreciate taking the risk out of their buying decisions.
"For men, it's about how quickly they can get in and out the store and get back to the game," Passi said. "For women, the game is the shopping experience. If you go to the store with a woman, you should expect to stay there 30 to 40 percent longer. They take longer because women are looking to compare, research and make the right choice because the wrong choice can have a big impact on their family."
With Speed Queen, women and other loyal customers appreciate the brand's commitment to quality. Speed Queen has been in business for 108 years. The company employs more than 1,600 workers who manufacture and assemble all washers and dryers in America.
Speed Queen machines are made of metal, not plastic, and are built to last at least 25 years compared to competitor brands that can break down after seven years. They're tested in a state-of-the-art lab before leaving the factory.
"Speed Queen is a perfect example of a way to educate and empower women to make better consumer choices," Passi said. "A washer and dryer are products that will have consistent daily and weekly usage. Women want a product they can depend on. Quality and durability are key when asking women about appliances. Secondary to that are fancy gadgets or colors."
Getting the job done right
Women simply want workhorse washers and dryers, Passi said, ones that get their family's laundry as clean and hygienic as possible.
Speed Queen works hard to achieve high marks among all consumers, said Jay McDonald, the company's vice president of North American Home Laundry Sales. That's another reason the brand skips big box stores for select independent dealers instead, such as Howard's TV & Appliance.
"We feel that independent appliance retailers employ trained specialists who can better explain the differences behind Speed Queen," McDonald said.
Obviously, those differences are not lost on Speed Queen's most loyal customers: women.