Do You Shop at America’s #1 Favorite Grocery Store?
Truth be told, aside from the occasional wobbly wheel on the cart or the idiotic repetition of “Please wait for an attendant” at the automated self-checkout lane, we’re pretty happy with our local grocery store, and apparently we’re not alone. A new market research survey finds most consumers are satisfied with their supermarket experience — but which stores are actually going above and beyond to “delight” their customers?
Market Force Information, a market-research firm, surveyed more than 6,000 grocery shoppers about their shopping experiences then crunched the numbers to create a “customer delight index.” That basically combines an overall satisfaction rating with how likely someone said they were to recommend a store to friends and family.
The survey found that customers said they placed the highest premium on convenient locations, followed by price and what kinds of sales and promotions stores offered. They also said they valued selection and one-stop shopping.
Surprisingly though, none of these turned out to make a huge difference in whether one chain dominated the others. Rather, what seemed to make the biggest difference was “operations-focused attributes” (to throw in a bit of marketing speak). What the heck does that mean?
“With most consumers satisfied with their grocery-shopping experiences, it makes for a very competitive playing field for grocers looking to distinguish themselves from the masses,” said Janet Eden-Harris, chief marketing officer for Market Force. “We start to see the greatest opportunities for differentiation in operations-related attributes such as fast checkouts, gracious staff and atmosphere.”
We’ll agree with that: nothing’s worse that watching your ice cream bars melt as you stand in line forever desultorily flipping through US Weekly or asking where to find the bread crumbs only to have the clerk point somewhere across the store and say, “Over there.”
When the results were tallied, it turns out Trader Joe’s claims the top spot as America’s favorite grocery chain — and that makes sense. Even if you don’t shop at Trader Joe’s, you likely know someone who does. And how do you know? Because they won’t stop talking about it! (It’s like a crazy cult centered around tropical-print shirts and Two Buck Chuck.)
The same can also be said for Whole Food Market, which essentially nabbed the number two spot, followed closely by Publix Super Markets at number three.
Other interesting results?
• In the Walmart vs. Target battle, Target scored far higher than Walmart.
• When it comes to Costco vs. Sam’s Club, Costco wins by a fair margin.
• Ralphs ranks first when it comes to convenient locations, while Aldi and WinCo win on price.
The Market Force Information survey also ranked the top three stores in various regions across the country:
• Northeast: Stop & Shop, followed by Giant and then Wegmans
• South: Kroger, followed close by Publix with H-E-B trailing a distant third
• Midwest: Kroger (again), followed by Meijer and then Hy-Vee
• West: Safeway, trailed by Kroger and then Costco
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