Where are grocers failing on in-store experience?
Doug Madenberg, Principal
Through a special arrangement, what follows is a summary of two articles from the blog of The Retail Feedback Group (RFG).
RFG’s annual “Supermarket Experience Study” found four areas where supermarkets are generally falling short of delivering compelling experiences in the store.
Demonstrating food expertise: This should be the ultimate differentiator for physical stores. It’s one thing to view items neatly organized on a website or app, say lemons or oranges. But it’s another to experience a beautiful citrus display in a store with the colors and scents, perhaps with whimsical signage introducing a Meyer lemon or a cara cara orange. Even better — having an engaged produce associate nearby to offer suggestions for use and preparation. Yet, our survey found 34 percent of shoppers don’t agree that their store has the expertise to help them select and prepare food. Staff availability was also the lowest-rated service attribute in our survey. Furthermore, only 39 percent noticed available staff anywhere in the store for sampling. That is just too low for a store that sells food!
Assortments missing several trending categories: While relatively satisfied with overall selection, consumers rated variety significantly lower in specific high-demand and differentiating categories, i.e., local, international/ethnic, natural/organic, allergen-free. Demand algorithms and item movement models should be supplemented with more input from shoppers in local markets to see how stores can better meet their needs.
Stores are still geared for the wrong time of day: Traditional supermarket shoppers are quite satisfied during the late morning hours, significantly more so than Aldi or Walmart shoppers. Yet, they are considerably less satisfied during peak time — 3PM and 7PM — the time when Aldi and Walmart outperform other day parts. Supermarkets need to figure out how to be at their best when in-store traffic is the highest.
Shoppers leaving without pleasant human contact: Over half (53 percent) of survey respondents were highly satisfied with their visit if they had a pleasant interaction, versus only 30 percent highly satisfied without one. Yet 71 percent did not have any pleasant human interaction on their visit. Almost three out of ten did not have a single interaction. Humans are social animals. We naturally seek company and community. So, it’s not a stretch to imagine that the physical stores that do survive and thrive will be the ones offering at least some pleasant social interaction with their customers.
- Delivering a Compelling In-Store Experience: Four Places Where Supermarkets are Missing the Boat – The Retail Feedback Group Blog
- Retail Feedback Group Study Finds Shoppers Continue To Score Supermarkets Highest In Quality And Variety; Aldi A Growing Competitive Force – The Retail Feedback Group
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Where do you see grocers falling most short on the in-store experience? Which of the shortfalls cited in the article is hardest to overcome?