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AdWeek Rates Grocery Stores



Consulting group C Space recently published the results of a survey on customer attitudes towards grocery stores in AdWeek. Charles Trevail, CEO of C Space stated “The grocery industry is an increasingly crowded space, and every new innovation brings consumers more choices.” 

He added “this data proves that, rather than relying on short-term tactics like discounts and reward programs, building loyalty depends on a grocery retailer's capacity to intuitively ‘get’ its customers."


In the study, consumers responded according to the following percentages:

  • 43 percent did not wish to feel “ripped off”
  • 41 percent expected consistent customer service
  • 32 percent appreciated rewards for loyalty
  • 24 percent desired products that fit needs and lifestyles

Positive mentions were accorded the following five stores with the percentage responses:

  • Trader Joe’s (90.4%)
  • Wegmans (92.7%)
  • Publix (90%)
  • Hy-Vee (87.5%)
  • Sprouts (85.7%)

Negative mentions involved:

  • Shaws (88.5%)
  • Walmart (81.4%)
  • Star Market (77.8%)
  • Local (79.5%)

The studies conducted by C Space developed a CQ Score which incorporates both positive and negative mentions.  The leading stores with their CQ Scores were:

  • Trader Joe’s (7.3)
  • Wegmans (7.0)
  • Publix (6.7)
  • Hy-Vee (6.6)

Whole Foods scored 3.6 and Target 2.7. Aldi was slightly above “neutral” with a score of 1.2.  Sam’s Club scored 0.3.  Stores with high negatives included Shaws -6.2, Walmart -4.9, Food Lion and Albertsons both -3.0.

In surveying consumers, it was determined that loyalty is influenced by perceptions of the brand and included: (for Trader Joe’s)

  • Response by customers to service provided by happy employees
  • Colorful labeling in stores
  • Limited selection to facilitate shopping but with items constantly in stock

Costco customer appreciated helpful employees to assist in navigating a large store with a wide range of items (which they continuously move around! -Ed.)

The response relating to positive attributes among the C Space survey is obviously influencing companies such as Wal-Mart Stores which has embarked on a program of reinvention according to President and CEO Doug McMillon. Associates (a euphemism for low-paid workers) will henceforth be required to provide a higher level of service.  Speaking at the 46th Annual Shareholders’ Meeting, McMillon stated “as the World becomes more digital it will be the humanity of Walmart that differentiate us and wins with customers.”  He added “Our investments in education and training, store structure, wages, hours and sales-floor technology are to support and enable customers to be served”.

Clearly given the results of recent consumer surveys including the C Space study, Walmart and Sam’s have a lot of work to do to enhance customer satisfaction and perceptions.