Written by Powa on .


We’ve all been there.

The sudden boiler breakdown in the dead of winter, or the refrigerator deciding to call it a day at the most inopportune moment.

These unforeseen circumstances can often lead to what is referred to as a “distressed purchase” –

a reluctant and unanticipated transaction made in haste for an essential product or service.

At this critical moment, consumers dispense with any concerns of brand or product quality. Instead, speed becomes the single most important factor in deciding on a replacement or repair.

In a situation such as this, no amount of content marketing is going to make any difference. This split-second decision will be largely influenced by information already possessed by the consumer.

So that raises the question: when your customer makes a distressed purchase, how can you make sure your business is the first that springs to mind?

Understanding the white goods sector

Distress purchasing is of particular interest to the white goods sector for reasons of supply and demand.

Supply in the white is typically characterised by large volumes of specialist retailers, resellers, and online stores, whilst demand for white goods is controlled by longer product lifecycles and smaller order sizes.

The long product lifecycles mean that consumers are often unprepared for a purchase, whilst the limited supply pushes up the price.

This all adds up to customers finding distress purchases cost prohibitive, and seeking out other, cheaper brands or carrying out DIY repairs instead.

So how do you convince a consumer to use your replacement parts?

Building and retaining brand trust and loyalty in the white goods sector is notoriously difficult. Research has shown that only one in eight stick to the same brand for the majority of their large kitchen appliances. During a distressed purchase, brand is almost insignificant.

So to retain that customer base, other techniques must be employed to put your brand at the forefront of the consumer’s mind.

1. Make documentation available online

A lost user manual shouldn’t be an obstacle to a consumer finding out which parts need replacing. Offer free downloadable user manuals, FAQ’s and guides on your website to steer a customer in the right direction.

In many cases, it may be a simple issue that requires no additional purchase. Statistics from the White Goods Trade Association reveal that approximately 30% of appliance returns require no additional parts.

2. Offer diagrams and installation instructions

Though spare parts are a cost-effective solution to breakdowns in white goods, a lack of diagrams or instructions for installation may deter consumers, leaving them to consider the option of a replacement appliance from another brand.

3. Video content for consumer engagement

Short, expertly-produced videos are invaluable in helping consumers use and maintain their products – and can also help them decide which products to buy. Host them on your blog, alongside your product descriptions or share the most commonly-used videos on social media to make sure they’re easy to find.


In short, distressed purchases needn’t result in a customer looking elsewhere. As long as you ensure that customer care doesn’t end at the checkout and make some simple additions to your online store, you’ll increase customer retention and build brand loyalty along the way.

Hassan Cadinouche

 About the Author

Hassan Cadinouche works for Powa Technologies as a Senior Analyst in the Content & Merchandising team. A digital native, Hassan has over five years of experience in eCommerce, generating content for major international brands.