STORE SPACES

Survey: Food quality, cleanliness key to supermarket experience

BY Marianne Wilson

An annual survey reveals the major factors that enter into the supermarket experience.

Supermarket shoppers rated quality/freshness of the product (4.45 on a 5-point scale) and cleanliness of the store (4.40) as the two strongest core experience factors, according to Retail Feedback Group’s 2017 U.S. Supermarket Experience Study. Associate friendliness – the highest-rated service factor – received a more moderate rating of 4.34, followed by associate helpfulness/knowledge (4.24), checkout speed/efficiency (4.23) and associate availability (4.19).

Value for the money spent received the lowest score among all core experience factors, at 4.18. Shoppers at discount grocer Aldi give value for money the highest marks (4.68), and also score Aldi higher than supermarkets on checkout speed (4.30). Walmart shoppers give lower scores on the all the core experience factors.

The survey findings point to a critical need for grocery retailers with a physical presence to step up their game, according to RFG principal Doug Madenberg.

“When people shop in a supermarket, the overall experience, assortment, and value proposition need to be excellent in order to earn their next visit,” he said. “There are too many grocery options available online, in hard discount stores, and across other formats, for an average or sub-par supermarket visit to be acceptable.”

In other survey findings:

• Supermarket shoppers gave an overall satisfaction rating of 4.42 before 3 p.m., but this mark fell to 4.36 between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Several factor ratings were substantially lower after 3 p.m. than earlier in the day, including cleanliness, quality/freshness, staff friendliness, and value for the money.

• Seventy-six percent of shoppers refer to one or more advertising/sales vehicles — traditional, social, mobile and digital — before or during the visit.

• Millennials scored supermarkets the lowest on all core experience factors, as well as overall trip satisfaction. Boomers, on the other hand, rated overall trip experience and nearly all core experience factors highest (and only one area — staff knowledge/helpfulness — was rated equal by both Boomers and Gen X).

“The fact that overall trip satisfaction and all of the core experience factors register lowest among millennials should be a call to action for supermarkets,” said Madenberg. “Traditional supermarkets must find ways to make the supermarket more appealing and relevant to younger shoppers or risk becoming endangered as boomers age and purchase less.”

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