Home » Study Reveals Mixed Results On Core Experience Factors Among Supermarket Shoppers

Study Reveals Mixed Results On Core Experience Factors Among Supermarket Shoppers


Last updated on June 14th, 2024 at 09:29 am

The Retail Feedback Group (RFG) has released the 2016 U.S. Supermarket Experience Study. The research finds that supermarkets, on a five-point scale where five is highest, continue to generate high satisfaction among shoppers. They score an average of 4.39, and they also foster a strong referral rate with an average likelihood-to-recommend-score of 4.48. Despite these high scores, an opportunity still exists to address lower scoring areas to grow loyalty and sales.

Core experience factors provide key barometers of supermarket channel performance

Examining key retailing fundamentals illustrates that supermarkets perform well in some of these critical areas yet show room for improvement in others.

Supermarket shoppers rate quality/freshness of the food and groceries (4.51), and that is followed by cleanliness of the store (4.45) as the two highest-rated core experience factors.

Also a higher-scoring factor, item variety and selection register at 4.43.

Associate availability scores lowest among all the core experience factors (4.20). The other service factors—associate friendliness/attitude (4.36), associate helpfulness/knowledge (4.27) and checkout speed/efficiency (4.32)only show moderate ratings.

Value for the money spent on this visit receive the second lowest rating at 4.27. Drilling down deeper into prices, the results show meat (4.01), produce (4.06) and everyday prices (4.07) all generate low scores in the supermarket channel. Advertised sales items score much higher (4.41).

Doug Madenberg, RFG principal, says, “Not one of the service attributes scored at the top of the core experience factors. Yet it is imperative to find ways to strengthen customer service. Our research shows that when service receives high scores, the average trip satisfaction is significantly higher along with spending in the short-term and loyalty in the long-term. As a result, we can’t stress strongly enough the impact that store employees have on the shopping experience, whether it is fostering a pleasant interaction, providing service above and beyond expectations or simply being available to help.”rfg-core-experience-logo

Satisfaction declines among shoppers throughout the day

Considering overall satisfaction with the trip, as well as on all of the core experience factors, the research finds that satisfaction declines as the day progresses. Highest scores registered before 11 a.m. with lowest scores found after 7 p.m. This finding illustrates an opportunity to evaluate channel readiness during peak evening shopping hours.

Item availability greatly impacts trip satisfaction

If shoppers cannot find all items they came in to purchase, their satisfaction is significantly lower (3.92) compared to those who do find all items (4.43). This finding is a recurring theme in supermarket experience research. In-stock position must consistently be high for retailers to ensure shopper satisfaction.

Advertising vehicles straddle traditional, social, mobile and digital media

Supermarket shoppers continue to use money-saving measures, but the mix of these measures is evolving.  Overall, 77 percent of shoppers refer to one or more advertising or sales vehicles before or during the store visit. The top money-saving measure, used by 56 percent of shoppers, is reviewing the traditional paper circular at home. An additional 31 percent review the circular in the store. Twenty-six percent examine the circular digitally. Clipping paper coupons registers at 38 percent. Downloading digital coupons is at 27 percent and in-store promotions at 22 percent. Money-saving measures used less frequently are loyalty card offers (19 percent), smartphone research (12 percent) and social media specials (7 percent).

Millennials migrating to digital faster

Examining the use of money-saving measures by generation, the research shows that Boomers review the circular at home (64 percent) and clip paper coupons (45 percent) at much higher rates than Millennials (46 and 31 percent, respectively). Millennials, on the other hand, utilize smartphone research (22 percent) and social media specials (13 percent) at higher percentages than Boomers (6 and 4 percent, respectively).

Brian Numainville, RFG principal, says, “As younger generations, specifically Millennials and Generation Z, continue to grow in their spending influence over the coming years, supermarket advertising will need to increasingly blend traditional vehicles with social, mobile and digital. Retailers should carefully evaluate their markets and shopper base on an ongoing basis to ensure the right mix.”

The study is based on a nationally representative study of 1,200 supermarket shoppers. It was prepared in conjunction with 210 Analytics LLC.

About the author

Shelby Team

The Shelby Report delivers complete grocery news and supermarket insights nationwide through the distribution of five monthly regional print and digital editions. Serving the retail food trade since 1967, The Shelby Report is “Region Wise. Nationwide.”

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