OPERATIONS

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

BY Marianne Wilson

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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FINANCE

Report: Alsea to invest $110 million to expand Starbucks in Latin America

BY Staff Writer

New York – Alsea, Latin America’s biggest restaurant operator, will invest $110 million over the next three years in 220 new Starbucks cafes in Mexico and Argentina, Reuters reported.

Around $75 million of the investment would be put into some 170 new stores in Mexico, which is Starbucks’ fastest-growing Latin American market, with the balance going to its number two regional market Argentina, according to the report.

Currently, Argentina and Brazil have about 50 Starbucks stores each.

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OPERATIONS

Target’s holiday plans include new price match and more in-store digital capabilities

BY Marianne Wilson

Minneapolis — Target announced that, for the first time ever, it will offer shoppers the ability to match select online competitors’ prices in its stores between Nov. 1 and Dec. 16. Qualifying online retailers include Amazon.com, Walmart.com, BestBuy.com and Toysrus.com.

Additionally, Target is also extending its in-store digital capabilities for the holiday season, has extended the timeframe for its price match policy for the holiday season, and new this year, the policy includes Target.com. If a guest purchases a qualifying item at Target stores between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24, and then finds it for less at Target.com or in a local competitor’s printed ad, Target will match that price.

Target is also extending its in-store digital capabilities for the holiday season. Customers can shop from television spots, bus shelter ads and catalog pages by using their mobile phones to send a text or scan a QR code. Target’s “shoppable” holiday advertising begins Nov. 7.

Also, free WiFi is now available in all Target stores. The service will provide better access to Target’s mobile app, and enable guests to redeem Target mobile coupons and scan QR codes throughout the store.

QR codes will be displayed alongside each of Target’s top toys, allowing guests to purchase this year’s 20 hottest toys from their mobile phones and have them shipped for free to anyone, anywhere in the U.S. QR codes are also now found in the shoe section at Target stores, giving guests another opportunity to easily purchase the shoes they love in the right size and color.

Target is also piloting wayfinding technology in a small number of stores, including all new CityTarget locations, where guests’ smartphones can recognize their location in a Target store and help guide them to products.

In another holiday extra, shoppers with Target-branded debit and credit cards will receive an extra 30 days on the retailer’s existing return policy on nearly all purchases paid with the card at stores and online.

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