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    A Look At Consumers’ Love/Hate Relationships With Grocers

    Online buzz guides NetBase passion index for U.S. supermarkets

    In a bid to determine the passion intensity (love/hate) and the amount of online buzz around America’s grocery stores, NetBase has revisited its social media analysis of five major retailers -- Safeway, Whole Foods, Kroger, Costco and Walmart – which provides a snapshot of information based on analysis of 95 million social media sources.

    In the infographic above, the amount of chatter about a brand is indicated by the size of the bubble, while the placement of the bubble shows the sentiment and intensity of passion. The solid bubbles represent results for 2011 and the gradients are for 2010.

    ]In looking at the migration of the bubbles in the past year, it’s evident that when it comes to really intense passion about supermarkets, online consumers are all about all things “W” – Walmart and Whole Foods – both of which reigned with high passion levels.

    Not surprisingly, consumers continue to have intense passion for Walmart, but with highly negative sentiment. Despite generating 72 percent of the overall chatter, Walmart still had a staggering 50 percent of online conversations expressing hate. Verbatim feedback captured by NetBase (below), surfaced about the discount giant showed that while it continues to be one of the cheapest options, the service and overall customer experience is terrible.

    “One of the reasons that I hate Walmart is because they are very NON-coupon friendly.”

    “I’m really starting to hate Walmart with a passion but I’ll be damned if they ain’t the cheapest place to get stuff…Just cause you have the best prices doesn’t mean you have to throw customer service and manners out the window!”

    “Walmart’s lines are ridiculous. I’ve been standing here for like, 30 mins., and don’t think I have moved but 2 feet. Ugh!”

    In contrast, verbatim insights about Whole Foods (below) showed that social media consumers love how it provides a gourmet and full experience – not only is there a great selection, but it provides an atmosphere beyond that of simply a supermarket. With 70 percent of its chatter reflecting love, Whole Foods is where many will be buying their chopped meat for the best burgers.

    “Whole Foods [is] a gourmet’s heaven of unique and organic specialty foods.”

    “The new Whole Foods off of Almaden is fantastic! The meat, fish and produce is so picture-perfect! They have a great beer & wine selection that has great prices.”

    “Whole Foods is not only a great place to shop, it also has great Wi-Fi, and functions as a great work space.’

    As consumers prepare for summer cookouts, it looks like Costco is still tried and true – consumers are still relying on the massive chain, and not just for the toilet paper or the free samples. With love making up 68 percent of its overall chatter, Costco’s verbatim online chatter (below) showed that the social media universe finds Costco to be a great option for grill-friendly foods.

    "Costco has the BEST hot dogs ever Period."

    "Costco BBQ lighters are great! Has LED light, bottle opener, a blazing torch of fire and is refilable."

    "Absolute best burgers…the fresh, pre-made burger from Costco are fantastic."

    Safeway and Kroger, meanwhile, have also increased their online social buzz a bit over the year, reports NetBase. While both of the supermarket chains are still in the love zone, they have moved over on the passion intensity and on the polarity scale as well, as reflected in the verbatim captured comments below:

    "I am beginning to really love Safeway a bit more."

    "I have found that Kroger is the best place for me. I love how they double coupons [and] have 10 for 10 deals."

    Serving hundreds of corporate customers and based in the heart of Silicon Valley, the privately-held NetBase Social Media Insight & Analysis delivers tools and scorecards that give market researchers and brand managers a reliable way to understand online brand equity, analyze and compare consumer passion, and generate deep insights. For more information, visit: www.netbase.com.

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