In-​Store Experience Still Key for Grocery Shoppers

Like all retailers, grocers are focused on their brick-​and-​mortar footprint, store remodels/​renovations and how best to operate in an omnichannel world. And, because everyone shops for groceries, these retailers must be ready to cater to a wide range of consumer preferences and demands, all the while balancing threats such as fierce competition, fluctuating commodity prices and changing consumer expectations. grocery

While 37% of respondents in a new study by Pricewaterhouse Coopers cited price as the top influencer when deciding where to shop, convenience was not far behind at 28%. And the largest component of convenience is fast checkout, which accounted for 30% of “memorable great experiences” in the grocery store.

On the other hand, rude employees accounted for 28% of “bad memorable experiences” in the grocery store.

High-​quality customer experience is a defining feature for shoppers at grocery stores,” the report states. “When they can afford it, customers are willing to pay a premium for well-​trained and attentive staff who know the store well.”

Interestingly, grocery shoppers are less likely to complain about their bad experiences to company management than shoppers for other goods and services. Almost half — 46% — of grocery shoppers do not report bad experience to their grocers, vs. 24% of banking customers who do not report bad experiences and 21% of media/​communications customers.

Grocery shoppers are willing to share bad experiences with their friends, however — 92% said they do so, and about 1/​3 of shoppers will share their bad-​experience tales for six months or more.


  • Fierce competition from supercenters, dollar stores, traditional grocers, local stores, primarily competing on price
  • Fluctuation in commodity prices anD margin pressure
  • Meeting the changing expectations of customers, particularly given rapidly changing demographics
  • Determining how to achieve an omnichannel customer experience (e.g., how much investment, if any, to make in going online)


  • Satisfying customers through value-​added service, amenities and offerings
  • Broadening acceptance of private label products
  • Expansion of loyalty programs to offer special discounts targeted at individual consumers as well as rewards for loyalty
  • Being in the right location with the right product mix at the right time
[Source:  "Experience Radar 2013 — Lessons from the U.S. Grocery Industry, Volume 2."  Pricewaterhouse Coopers. December 2012.  Web.  11 Jan. 2013.]