Grocery stores have higher customer loyalty than their retail counter parts due to necessity, according to inMarket inSights’ Spring 2017 Loyalty Report: Grocery.

Based on the study, the Top 5 Grocers for Customer Loyalty are:

  1. King Soopers (3.00)
  2. Kroger (2.87)
  3. Giant Eagle (2.87)
  4. Fry’s Food & Drug Stores (2.82)
  5. Harris Teeter (2.76)
The report, which shows a clear trend between customer loyalty and store expansions, is based on mobile location data from 50 million opted-in, anonymous consumers from January through June 2017. 

“Consumers simply need to purchase food more often than other retail products,” the report says. “That said, by looking at the grocery category average, we can understand which chains are thriving or struggling in terms of customer loyalty.”

King Soopers, the Denver-based chain operating under Kroger, leads all grocers for customer loyalty in 2017, performing 49 percent better than average. With a heavy presence on the Front Range—King Soopers recently added new services to many locations such as bistros, sushi bars, and full-service delis; toy and clothing sections; and outdoor patio furniture areas to provide a one-stop shop for consumers.

In the Restaurant inSights report, Cincinnati-based Skyline Chili and Frisch’s Big Boy ranked first and third, respectively, for customer loyalty in the full-service dining category. Cincinnatians’ loyalty appears to exist across channels as well. For grocery, fellow Cincy business Kroger joins the club, ranking second for most loyal customers thus far in 2017. Despite ranking highly, Kroger has trimmed its new store expansion plans by 35 percent, the report notes, though it is still growing by 1.8 percent overall this year.

North Carolina’s Harris Teeter and Arizona’s Fry’s Food & Drug round out the top five for customer loyalty in Spring 2017. Harris Teeter is adding 3,000 employees amid expansion, while Fry’s is planning to hire 1,000 additional employees.

Four of the top five grocers for customer loyalty grew in 2017, but Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle bucks that trend with the closure of 10 stores so far in 2017.

“Analysts believe that, despite above-average customer loyalty, the higher average price point at Giant Eagle could be a critical factor in losing the battle to chains like Kroger, Meijer, and Aldi,” the report says.
inMarket analyzes location trends from more than 50 million mobile devices per month. The first-party data powers its suite of location-based ad products that segment, retarget, and recover customers for its partners. It’s also useful for predicting business performance based on location/store foot traffic over time—and for understanding customer retention.

Each retailer is assigned a loyalty score, which is determined by repeat device visitation and is normalized for comparability. For example, a retailer with 1,000,000 visits from 500,000 devices would have a loyalty score of 2, whereas a retailer with 10,000 visits from 4,000 devices would receive a loyalty score of 2.5.
The average loyalty score for grocery chains in Spring 2017 was 2.01.

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