Update March 2017: It appears that the new Weber Genesis II grills are being made in China, not what we wanted to see compared to the USA made 2016 Genesis and earlier years.
In the 60+ years since Mr. Stephen put together a charcoal setup from (literally) a buoy float, Weber’s business has set an example for how a brand aimed at consumers can take a market’s lead while not giving in to reduced prices.
Euromonitor International, a market researcher, estimated Weber (based in Palatine) made up 35% of the grills sold in 2012, totaling about $2.5 billion. The runner-up to Weber didn’t even have half its market numbers, not to forget Weber BBQs rarely cost less (usually much more). It’d be like Toyota being outsold by Mercedes.
Why are Weber Grills so expensive? What’s their secret?
By keeping consumers impressed with the durability, performance, and reliability of its BBQ grills, which keep winning over the reviewers at Consumer Reports. Michael Kempster, Marketing Global Chief Officer with over 43 years in the company, voiced that the products they sell are premium and high quality. He basically even admitted to their unapologetic stance for sometimes being the priciest of grills.
The approach of Weber for building up a brand isn’t short-term by any means, which takes a certain discipline very few consumer/grill marketers have. Weber-Stephen doesn’t go public with their revenue numbers, but no matter what that is, it would surely be more if the company adopted other’s approaches used to bring about sales in the short-term- like ad-based broad budget campaigns, quick reveals of new grill pieces (this 2016 Summit Charcoal grill is a start) or (fingers crossed) discounts!
Tim Calkins, marketing professor from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, once spoke of Weber as an example of a non-greedy brand and the potential there is when a manufacturer continues making products of quality.
The power of the Weber empire comes from the satisfaction of customers (felt sincerely).
Just pour over the crowd of Amazon reviews for any Weber grill, from the tiny Smokey Joe to the mammoth Summit, you’ll see the majority of ratings are 4 stars or more. At least one enthusiast online viewed other lesser priced brands as incomparable to their Weber.
From what Mr. Kempster spoke, the meticulous engineering and components of high-quality ensure Weber’s stuff will hold up longer than the expectations of consumers.
Very few of the factories outside the one’s in Huntley and Palatine make Weber grills, with test models being subjected to “tortue” styled tests, intending to simulate 10-15 years of usage. Weber’s products are backed with lengthy warranties, and replacement parts are quickly provided thanks to their smooth operation of customer service.
Michael Kempster explained that they’ve always tried to get a bond created between them and the owner, making the product advocated by its owner. He put it as a “loyalty loop”, allowing Weber to post up steeper price tags in just about all categories. Take for example the $499 listing on Home Depot’s site for the Weber Spirit 3-burner (compare to Amazon’s price) and a similar $159 Brinkmann model.
See Also: When to get a Good Deal on a Grill
Markdowns are hard to come by, as Weber’s marketing budget is distributed to retailers to keep their prices maintained at a minimum level.
Weber’s image is further enhanced by only picking retailers to sell their grills through that hold up the expectations people have when going into a shopping experience for gas grills that commonly sets one back hundreds in Benjamin bills. Kempster has said that warehouse clubs are not included, like Costco or Sam’s Club. Not one of the exclusions? Amazon.com.
Because of Weber’s reputation, there’s less pressure to introduce hit new grills before the next calendar year, a bar that’s set high even for other big players like Apple and Nike.
From what was stated by Mr. Kempster, improvements in the product often start with the feedback of customers left via social media and telephone. When Weber heard enough gripe from customers that the steel, porcelain-coated grates weren’t holding heat high enough in colder conditions, they made the switch to cast iron.
Featured img: CC BY 2.0