We all know that grocery prices are increasing. But gas prices are also high these days, so no one wants to have to drive to several stores to get what they need. So the price of the groceries themselves isn’t the only factor to consider when choosing where to shop.
Customer data science company Dunnhumby’s Retailer Preference Index (RPI) has released a report that shows which grocery chains are responding best to consumer needs, from those with the easiest websites to use to retailers that consistently offer rewards and promotions.
The report analyzes the following “customer preference drivers”:
Dunnhumby says it developed its report from an online survey of 10,000 U.S. households. The rankings are based on retailers’ RPI scores, which weigh the factors listed above.
The retailers listed in the report are:
ACME, Albertsons, Aldi, Amazon, Amazon Fresh, Big Y, BJ’s Wholesale, Brookshire’s, Costco, Family Fare, Fareway, Food City, Food Lion, Food4Less/FoodsCo., Fred Meyer, The Fresh Market, Fresh Thyme, Fry’s Food Stores, Giant Company, Giant Eagle, Giant Foods, Grocery Outlet, Hannaford, Harris Teeter, H-E-B, Hy-Vee, Ingles Markets, Jewel-Osco, King Soopers, Kroger, Lidl, Lowes Foods, Marc’s, Market Basket, Meijer, Military Commissaries, Price Chopper, Price Rite, Publix, Ralphs, Safeway, Sam’s Club, Save A Lot, Save Mart, Schnucks, Shaw’s/Star Market, ShopRite, Smart & Final, Smith’s, Sprouts, Stater Bros, Stop & Shop, Target, Tops Friendly Markets, Trader Joe’s, Vons, Market, Walmart Neighborhood Market, Wegmans, Weis, WinCo
“The top customer preference drivers this past year were price, quality, and digital,” the report says.
We’ll look at those metrics plus the others, but first, let’s consider the report’s assessment for overall top grocers.
- Market Basket
- Amazon Fresh
- Trader Joe’s
- Sam’s Club
- Walmart Neighborhood Market
- BJ’s Wholesale
Here are the top five retailers for the other categories, according to Dunnhumby.
Some retailers have made a concerted effort to win on cost, even to the extent, according to the report, that “they cede ground on certain benefits in order to invest in better prices.”
Here are the report’s top grocery stores based on price: 1. Aldi, 2. Market Basket, 3. WinCo, 4. Grocery Outlet and 5. Save A Lot.
When it comes to digital operations, which the report refers to as “omnichannel” methods, Amazon sets itself apart, but it’s not the only one. Target and Walmart are examples of retailers that the report cites as continually optimizing their data to take advantage of customer insights.
“This is the first year ever where digital matters as much as quality,” the report says.
The top grocery retailers in the digital category, according to the report, are led by — perhaps unsurprisingly — 1. Amazon and 2. Amazon Fresh. They are followed by 3. Target, 4. Walmart and 5. Sam’s Club.
Grocer quality involves an array of metrics that includes product freshness and variety, natural and organic choices as well as the availability of private brands.
The report’s top grocers for quality are 1. Wegmans, 2. Trader Joe’s, 3. Fresh Thyme, 4. The Fresh Market and 5. Sprouts.
The ease with which you can get in and out of a store, including the speed of the checkout process, can pay off for grocery stores, the report indicates.
“Retailers who focused on saving customers time had nine times higher year-over-year sales growth than retailers who focused on providing high-quality products and experiences,” the report says.
The report’s top grocers for speed are 1. Fareway, 2. Grocery Outlet, 3. Aldi, 4. Amazon and 5. Save A Lot.
The report also ranked stores on their operations: how they convey their prices to customers and whether their shelves are stocked with what people want.
The best grocers when it comes to operations, according to the report, are 1. Market Basket, 2. Publix, 3. Costco, 4. BJ’s Wholesale Club and 5. Winco.
As for convenience, things like proximity, product variety and the ability to buy everything you need from one store were all considered.
The report says the most convenient stores are 1. Walmart, 2. Publix, 3. ShopRite, 4. Walmart Neighborhood Market and 5. Shaw’s/Star Market.
The retailers that focus on delivering savings via discounts and coupons get high marks from their customers.
These retailers top the report’s findings when it comes to promotions/rewards: 1. Fry’s Food Stores, 2. Tops Friendly Markets, 3. Kroger, 4. Smith’s and 5. Price Chopper.
Read the complete report from Dunnhumby (must register to download).
Even with all the attributes a grocery store may have, a retailer can still win the most with low prices.
“Price now sits alone at the top,” the report says. “Digital sits even with Quality for the first time and is near Price in its weight in driving retailer success.
For tips on how to lower your food costs, here’s how to save on groceries.