Death By Data Breach?

February 16, 2015

Shoppers would leave data-breached stores, and are arms-length on grocery delivery, reveals newest NGA-SupermarketGuru survey.

Originally published in the weekly Facts, Figures & the Future e-newsletter. Click here for a free subscription.

How much could a data breach hurt a supermarket’s relationships with customers?

Not awful the first time it happens. But watch out - repeat offenders could lose more than 40% of their customers.

So say 902 chief household shoppers polled for the annual National Grocers Association-SupermarketGuru 2015 Consumer Survey Report.  NGA members learned the complete research findings at this week’s 2015 NGA Show in Las Vegas.  

The topic of data breaches – increasingly common at major retailers this past year – was one of several new areas covered by the comprehensive annual benchmarking survey, which SG (a sister property to F3) conducts for NGA.  

Fortunately for supermarkets that might suffer a first incident, consumers would be somewhat forgiving: just 4.7% say they’d “definitely” switch stores, one in 10 would “probably” switch stores, and six in 10 (58.8%) say it “depends on the circumstance – a retailer deserves more than one chance.” For the remaining quarter of consumers, a first breach would barely cause a blip: 16.9% would “probably still shop there,” and 8.4% would definitely still shop there.

However, more shoppers would be in play and open to switch stores upon a second incident: 15.6% would “definitely” shop elsewhere, and 27.9% would “probably seek another store.” The proportion of consumers that still feel it “depends on the circumstances” would drop to just 37.0%. For the rest, 7.5% would “probably” still shop at the same store, another 14.5% “would shop there, but pay cash,” and only 3.0% would definitely stay on as a customer.

The survey also queried shoppers about another emerging retail trend: online grocery delivery. Our research data show that people aren’t as engaged in this service as stores, and food deliverers will need them to become in order for this business to thrive.

Only about one-third of respondents say they are open to food delivery today. However, the good news is they give the industry clues how to best shape this service to maximize its appeals.  

For example, shoppers say to gear up for three to five deliveries per month at most. Also, prioritize these aspects of food and beverage delivery:  “food arrives in excellent condition” (66.7% want this), “free or low-cost delivery” (66.0%); “ability to schedule a delivery time, within a narrow window” (49.3%), “same food prices as in-store” (48.6%), and “temperature control of perishables” (40.3%).  

The Uber aspect of “security – I’m told who will deliver it” matters to fewer than one in 10 (8.3%). The payment structure consumers prefer is to pay a fee for each delivery (49.3%), which tops “pick up food at store for a lower fee or free” (31.3%) and “food is delivered unlimited times for a periodic monthly or annual fee” (19.4%), according to the NGA-SG survey data.

In a third new area covered by the survey, the biggest takeaway is that supermarkets excelling in environmental practices should make sure consumers know about it – because just one-third of survey respondents (34.6%) say they’re aware if their favorite stores are good eco-citizens.