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PwC: Understanding Grocery Shopper Values Sets Gold Standard

By Rob Starr, Content Manager, Big4.com

In a new report titled Experience Radar 2013: Lessons from the U.S. Grocery Industry PwCmeasures the experiences of about 6,000 U.S. consumers across multiple industries. The report defines the several  behaviors that companies can adopt to enhance customer experience and create value including:

  • Balance high-tech with high touch: As the most important factor in determining preference, staff quality impacts where customers shop one-third of the time. As most customers still shop for groceries in person, invest in employees to deliver engaging experiences, motivating shoppers to return and employees to stay. While high-tech self-checkouts are essential, some customers feel more at ease with conventional methods and will pay a premium for attendant checkout to avoid technology difficulties.
  • Avoid spoil: Shoppers are easily frustrated and two in five customers never return after a bad experience. Customers often do not provide feedback to their grocers, but they are quick to warn their social networks instead. Create a vigorous social media strategy to listen hard to your customers to fix issues and create incentives for customers to provide feedback. Develop a thorough, well-advertised service recovery strategy that includes a catch-all return policy.
  • Empower customers to make satisfying choices: While 20 percent of shoppers rank product selection as a top purchase driver, customers are inundated with product information and seek ways to make easier shopping decisions. Invest in a labelling strategy to help customers cut their clutter. Establish yourself as a trusted go-to resource by offering recipes, nutrition tips and advice to create stronger relationships. Offer new product samples and let customers try new products and return them if they aren’t satisfied.

“Today’s shopper has specific expectations and retailers must be ready to cater to the widest range of consumer preference and demands,” said Susan McPartlin, PwC’s U.S. retail & consumer sector leader. “Leading grocers must balance the threats of fierce competition, commodity price fluctuations and margin pressures, while meeting changing customer expectations and determining how to deliver an omnichannel experience. Grocers should not only accept, but relish their role as the testing ground for best-in-class customer experiences.”

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