Beyond individual organizations, entire industries have become known to turn in consistent customer satisfaction statistics. Airlines, for example, may have lower scores on the whole as a result of the stressful feelings generated by travel. On the other end of the spectrum, the 2016 U.S. Supermarket Experience Study, from the Retail Feedback Group (RFG), once again reveals a strong showing out of the supermarket vertical. The industry scored an average of 4.39 (out of five) in overall satisfaction, with a particularly impressive mark of 4.48 in likeliness for customers to refer to friends or family.
The study had 1,200 shoppers rate their experiences, according to eight core barometers. Of those eight, quality and freshness of items ran away with the most weight among customers, with a score of 4.51 in terms of importance. In second was store cleanliness with 4.45.
Interestingly, those surveyed seemed less concerned with the quality of service in the store, instead valuing price and quality.
Doug Madenberg, RFG Principal noted: “Not one of the service attributes scored at the top of the core experience factors, yet it is imperative to find ways to strengthen customer service. Our research shows that when service receives high scores, the average trip satisfaction is significantly higher along with spending in the short-term and loyalty in the long-term. As a result, we can’t stress strongly enough the impact that store employees have on the shopping experience, whether it is fostering a pleasant interaction, providing service above and beyond expectations, or simply being available to help.”
When striving for exceptional customer experience, supermarkets should start with inventory: customers rated stores an average of 3.92 when they were unable to find the item they wanted, compared with 4.43 from customers that found what they were looking for.
Not surprisingly, paper coupons are more effective with baby boomers, while millennials are more likely to engage with digitally served discounts. According to the report, 45 percent of surveyed boomers clipped paper coupons compared with 31 percent of millennials, and 13 percent of millennials used social media specials compared with just four percent of boomers.
Brian Numainville, RFG Principal, observed: “As younger generations, specifically millennials and generation Z, continue to grow in their spending influence over the coming years, supermarket advertising will need to increasingly blend traditional vehicles with social, mobile, and digital. Retailers should carefully evaluate their markets and shopper base on an ongoing basis to ensure the right mix.”
The road ahead looks bright for supermarkets and, armed with this research, this vertical may be able to serve consumers even more effectively.