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Personal interactions with store associates and customers hold the trump card for solidifying shopper satisfaction and loyalty, according to results of the Retail Feedback Group's (RFG), 2015 U.S. Supermarket Experience Study.
Now in its eighth year, the annual study from the Lake Success, N.Y.-based consumer research and insights consultancy finds that supermarkets continue to generate high satisfaction among shoppers, scoring an average of 4.44 on a five-point scale where 5 is highest.
Store Associates Hold Key to High Trip Satisfaction
Underscoring the significant impact store associates have on shopper satisfaction are high marks from shoppers who are made to feel like a welcome guest (4.70), who derive food expertise from store associates (4.66), and who encounter exceptional service (4.66), all of whom expressed the highest overall trip satisfaction score.
Core Experience Factor Satisfaction in the Supermarket Channel
Additionally, several retailing fundamentals can greatly impact the overall trip experience and store satisfaction. Supermarkets performed well in some of these areas yet show room for improvement in others.
- Quality/Cleanliness: Supermarket shoppers rated quality/freshness of the food and groceries (4.47), followed by cleanliness of the store (4.44) as the two highest-rated core experience factors.
- Service: While shoppers gave high marks to the friendliness and attitude of the store personnel (4.43) and the speed and efficiency of checkout (4.41), helpfulness and knowledge of personnel (4.35) realized a lower rating and availability of personnel to provide assistance if needed (4.26) received the lowest rating across all core experience factors.
- Value: The value for the money spent on this visit received the second lowest rating at 4.27.
- Variety: A mid-tier core experience factor was variety and selection of products, at 4.38.
“Our findings show that two of the three lowest-rated areas among the core experience factors are people-related – helpfulness and knowledge of personnel and the availability of personnel to provide assistance," said Doug Madenberg, RFG principal. "It is important to strengthen these areas, especially considering how store associates can positively influence overall satisfaction.”
Dirty Stores, Discourteous Employees = Irritated Shoppers
Nothing detracts from a good experience at the supermarket more than unsanitary conditions, according to 69 percent of shoppers who say a dirty store really gets on their nerves. Two-thirds are highly irritated by unsanitary carts and baskets. At 64 percent, discourteous employees follow in third place.