Yale Appliance’s Journey
If you were asked which company you thought was the biggest online thought leader in the kitchen appliance space, you’d probably assume that it was one of the major manufacturers you’ve been seeing in kitchens for years -- names like General Electric, Whirlpool, Kenmore, and Frigidaire.
Worth hundreds of millions of dollars each, these companies, at least in theory, should “own” the digital space.
However, you might be surprised to learn that not only is the go-to consumer information source in the appliance industry not one of the leading manufacturers, it’s also not a manufacturer at all.
The company that is making a killing by providing educational articles, videos, buyer’s guides, and ebooks that answer the most pressing questions potential buyers have about appliances is a regional retail store located in Boston, Massachusetts called Yale Appliance.
Yale Appliance has been selling to and servicing the people of Boston with all of their home appliance and lighting needs since 1923. From the Great Depression of the late 1920s to the Great Recession of 2008, Yale Appliance has persevered through it all.
So, how does a local appliance store maintain longevity through many generations, while many other businesses in their field have been forced to shutter their doors during periods of economic decline?
The answer is simple:
They turned to their customers and started paying close attention to the habits, problems, and needs of appliance consumers.
How They Worked With IMPACT to Transform Their Business
In 2007, Yale Appliance CEO Steve Sheinkopf decided it was time to start taking control of online conversations about home appliances by starting a business blog for Yale Appliances. And for four years, Sheinkopf was pleased with the online results he was seeing -- a growing social media presence, as well as a steady (albeit slight) uptick in monthly traffic.
And as much as he personally despised traditional outbound advertising, there were times when he believed that he had no choice but to turn it.
“I’ve never been sold on advertising, even though we were doing some radio and television ads, and buying space in the Boston Globe,” Steve explained.
“We were spending a lot of money. When the recession hit, I had read somewhere that refrigerators actually sold better during recessions like the Great Depression, so we advertised even more, but we didn’t really get anything out of it.”
The recession forced Steve to reevaluate his business goals and plans.
“When I was struggling during the recession, we had to ask ourselves the same two questions every other business has to -- ‘How do I reduce expenses?’ and ‘How do I add revenue?’ And it usually boiled down to the same answers -- ‘I need to sell more,’ and ‘I need to cut more.’ And that’s really hard to do. Anybody with compassion hates to cut people,” he said.