Time for Supermarkets to Step Up for Demanding Customers

The Lempert Report
March 17, 2014

New research shows that consumers are becoming increasingly demanding and as a result they will be less forgiving with retailers.

As an example of low satisfaction, the new American Customer Satisfaction Index showed that Internet sellers disappointed many buyers with post-holiday deliveries.  As a result, their benchmark rating in the American Customer Satisfaction Index dove 4.9% to 78, the lowest score since 2001.  

The ACSI study also noted that:

*National and regional supermarket chains rose a collective 1.3% to 78, based on grocery values, locations and hours.

*An aggregate group of smaller regionals rose three points to 81 to notch second place. Kroger came in at 80, Whole Foods Market slid 3% to 78.  Winn-Dixie, Supervalu and Safeway posted scores of 76 and 77, and Walmart trailed at 72, ACSI reported.

But it's non-grocers that continue to secure most consumer trips for food.  According to King Retail Solutions-University of Arizona Center for Retailing, Fall 2013 study of Millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers, more than three-quarters say they bought groceries from a non-grocer during the past 12 months – and more than half do so more than monthly, .  And a quarter of shoppers  “made a grocery list intending to fulfill the entire list at a non-grocery,” says the report. And finally, 96% say they would buy groceries from a non-grocer in the coming 12 months.

To quote Andrew Swedenborg, Executive VP at King Retail Solutions, “Delivering a valuable shopping experience is the real challenge”.

Supermarkets do still take the lead when it comes to fresh prepared foods, but this research seems to suggest that Supermarkets can not take their customers for granted. Food retailers need to make customer satisfaction a priority or risk losing them.