OPERATIONS

Aldi tops survey of low-cost grocers

BY Marianne Wilson

Boulder, Col. — Discount grocer Aldi ranks as the nation’s low-price grocery leader, according to a recent consumer survey conducted by Market Force Information.

The survey asked consumers to indicate which retailer captured most of their grocery dollars. Ten grocers topped the list, including Aldi, Costco, Giant Foods, H-E-B, Kroger, Meijer, Publix, Safeway, ShopRite and Walmart. The survey then asked consumers to rank those 10 top grocery retailers on a number of attributes such as low pricing, cleanliness, service, food quality, location and the checkout process.

Results showed that consumers view Aldi as the affordable price leader, ranking it ahead of the other nine grocery chains. On an index scale with the average score set at 100, Aldi received a 157, followed by Walmart with a 129. Costco ranked third in the low-price category with an index score of 120, followed by Giant Food and HEB.

Market Force’s study revealed that the choice of a supermarket is primarily driven by location (67%). Second on the list was price (57%), followed by good sales and promotions (52%). The availability of good private-label products was high on the list (38%), revealing a growing opportunity for stores to differentiate. A mere 5% were shown to prefer their primary grocer for its sustainable environment and green policies.

The survey has some good news for grocers: The results showed the vast majority of consumers are satisfied with their grocery experience. When asked to think about their most recent grocery-shopping trip at their primary retailer, consumers were overall pleased, with 90% indicating they were somewhat or very satisfied. Only 10% of consumers said they were dissatisfied, with long wait times driving the most discontent.

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BJ’s uses Keynote to load test and monitor its website

BY Marianne Wilson

San Mateo, Calif. — Keynote Systems, which provides Internet and mobile cloud monitoring, announced that BJ’s Wholesale Club is using various Keynote solutions for optimizing the performance of its website.

For the first phase of the project, Keynote ran peak load tests to ensure that all components of BJ’s site were fully prepared to handle expected usage before the site went live.

With the site now operational, ongoing monitoring services from Keynote inform BJ’s whether the site is available and performing optimally to deliver superior experience to its members. This allows BJ’s to respond immediately to issues before they impact customers.

“We take performance and user experience very seriously,” explained Shamim Mohammad, VP information technology, BJ’s. “Although we do considerable testing within our environment, we needed to validate that end users are seeing good performance and availability. Keynote services show us how our site is responding from an end user perspective from all parts of the country so we can uncover any issues and fix them before they impact our customers.”

Now that the site is successfully serving members, Keynote monitors the site on an ongoing basis for performance and availability. BJ’s uses Keynote Transaction Perspective to run test scripts from five locations around the United States every 15 minutes. The scripts run through the entire check-out process from an end user perspective. If the tests reveal any performance or availability issues, Keynote proactively notifies BJ’s of the issue and whether it impacts members.

Keynote also provides performance and availability trending on a monthly basis and offers recommendations for optimizing the site.

“This testing has helped us improve site availability and performance,” Mohammad said.

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OPERATIONS

Blake Nordstrom joins Whole Foods Market board

BY CSA STAFF

Austin, Texas — Whole Foods Market announced the addition of Blake W. Nordstrom to the company’s board of directors, increasing the size of the board to 12 members. He will serve on the audit committee.

Nordstrom, 50, has been president of Nordstrom since 2000 and has served as a member of the company’s board of directors since 2005.

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