ALDI scores well in study against supermarkets
In a recent report billed as the “2019 U.S. Supermarket Experience Study,” the Retail Feedback Group (RFG) compared U.S. supermarkets to deep-discount chain ALDI and the nation’s largest retailer Walmart to gain consumer feedback on overall satisfaction, quality and variety.
Lake Success, N.Y.-based RFG, a market research company that conducts consumer retail studies, found that supermarkets continue to maintain the strongest overall satisfaction score (4.31 on a five-point scale) when compared to ALDI (4.27) and Walmart (3.93). Supermarkets also have the highest scores in quality and variety.
However, considering value for money spent, Batavia, Ill.-based ALDI, which has smaller stores compared to most traditional supermarkets, receives the top score. ALDI also garners the highest overall satisfaction during the peak traffic hours of 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. (4.30) versus supermarkets (4.27) and Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart (3.98).
Supermarket shoppers rated quality/freshness of the food and groceries (4.44), cleanliness of the store (4.42) and item variety and selection (4.38) as the strongest core experience factors. Associate friendliness, while the highest service rating, received a more moderate score of 4.32, followed by checkout speed/efficiency (4.28), associate helpfulness/knowledge (4.24) and associate availability (4.17).
Tied for the lowest score among all core experience factors, value for the money spent registered 4.17 at supermarkets. Looking at specific price attributes, the results show produce prices (3.99), meat/poultry prices (4.00) and everyday prices (4.01) all received low scores in the supermarket channel, while advertised sales items scored much higher (4.34). The latter is an important strength as 73 percent of shoppers refer to one or more advertising/sales vehicles — traditional, social, mobile and digital — before or during the visit, according to RFG.
“Value still remains a very important consideration for supermarket retailers with more than seven out of 10 shoppers referring to sales vehicles before or during the visit to the store,” said RFG Principal Brian Numainville. “While supermarkets receive the lowest scores on value for money spent, the good news is that advertised specials register as the strongest scoring pricing factor for supermarkets. While digital circulars (30 percent) continue to grow, the printed circular is still more popular today (51 percent), more so with baby boomers (62 percent) as compared to millennials (40 percent). However, digital coupons (33 percent) have now surpassed clipped coupons (29 percent) and are used across all age groups. Retailers need to remain attentive to the trends in their local markets to ensure they are communicating value using the vehicles most relevant to their shoppers.”
According to the study, ALDI shoppers are more likely to recommend the store, with a score of 44.7 compared to supermarkets (40.7) or Walmart (27.1). Further, 42 percent of those who shopped at ALDI say they plan to shop there more in the next 12 months versus 22 percent for supermarket shoppers and 28 percent for Walmart shoppers.
ALDI shoppers give value for money spent the highest mark (4.51) versus Walmart shoppers (4.32) and supermarket shoppers (4.17). ALDI also tied with supermarkets on quality and freshness (56 percent “highly satisfied”), with Walmart trailing at 46 percent.
"ALDI continues to make inroads in competing against supermarkets with strong value for money spent and likelihood to recommend scores,” RFG Principal Doug Madenberg observed. “As ALDI continues to remodel stores and expand into new locations (the retailer is in the midst of a $5 billion expansion), supermarkets need to step up their game in areas like staff availability and helpfulness, maintain leading scores in quality and variety, as well as focus operationally on improving satisfaction during high traffic time periods.”