Study: Out-of-stocks and dirty stores impact grocery shopping experience

Plainview, N.Y. -- Out-of-stocks are the most important overall element that impact satisfaction with the grocery trip experience, according to a study by The Retail Feedback Group. Satisfaction among shoppers unable to find all items they had planned to buy on their shopping trip averaged 3.97 on a five-point scale (with 5 as the highest), compared with 4.54 among shoppers who did find all items.

The 2012 U.S. Supermarket Experience Study also revealed the importance of a clean store: While price and variety are chief reasons for deciding where to shop, nearly four in 10 shoppers who bypass other stores say they do so because of lack of cleanliness. Indeed, keeping a clean store environment is a strength of the supermarket channel, receiving the highest rating in the survey at 4.53.

The study also underlined the importance of excellent service and a positive checkout experience: Ninety percent of shoppers used a cashier lane to check out, as opposed to self-checkout, and 56% indicated that the cashier positively impacted their trip satisfaction. Cashier friendliness registered as the second-highest scored attribute on the survey. Overall checkout experience also received a respectable score.

In other findings:

  • Out -of-stocks may cost retailers sales, with 50% of those shoppers going to a different store to purchase the item; 38% foregoing the item; 14% buying a different item at the store instead; and 12% buying a different brand or size.
  • The variety and selection of grocery items received one of the top scores by shoppers. However, real opportunity lies in expanding variety in natural/organic products, ethnic/international items, and locally-sourced items – all low-scoring yet areas of growing importance.
  • The majority of supermarket shoppers patronize the most conveniently located store. Top reasons for bypassing one or more stores are quality and variety of fresh foods (58%), lower prices in general (46%), and promotions and sales specials (46%).
  • More than 80% of shoppers indicated it is important that a supermarket be involved in the local community. Yet one-third of shoppers don’t know if their store is engaged locally, illustrating a clear opportunity for retailers to better communicate their outreach efforts.

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