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What's driving grocery store visits? Price, perishables, product assortment

New study uncovers the most important factors in shopping in-store

Price, fresh perishables and product availability are the top three keys to survival in the ever-competitive grocery industry, according to a report from Minerva Insights & Solutions, a global market intelligence and consultancy company.

Minerva’s first U.S. shopper report, A Matter of Choice, What Drives Grocery Store Visits, says the battle over shoppers’ wallets remains in-store, not in online grocery — yet. The results highlight critical drivers to store choice, how retailers are performing against these, and what retailers and manufacturers can do to gain an increased share of shoppers’ time, loyalty and spend.

“Shoppers have more choices when it comes to grocery shopping, and more drivers are competing for their attention than ever before,” says Philip Cop, owner of Minerva Insights & Solutions. “If retailers and manufacturers don’t work together to differentiate themselves, they’ll be even further behind and miss out on an opportunity to solve shoppers’ greatest needs.”

The report reveals key insights about the future of store choice, including:

• Store formats such as those at Aldi, Trader Joe's and Costco address key grocery shopper needs the best.

• While there are several other elements impacting store choice and loyalty, such as fresh perishables and organic options, there is no question that the “everyday low prices” model is still the most important factor impacting store choice.

• While another battle looms to gain online grocery shoppers, the survey indicates online grocery is not as much in play.

According to the study, shoppers rated their five most important factors in shopping as fresh perishables, everyday low prices, convenient location, in-stock products and wide assortment. When analyzing impact on overall store satisfaction, other factors came up such as quick check-out, staff friendliness and service, right company values, store brands, promotions, healthy/organic options, and high quality and gourmet foods.

The report also looks at specific retailers, satisfaction levels and what is driving shoppers to those locations every week. In a recent 30-day period, 50% of shoppers visited Walmart, however the retailer failed to make it on the top 10 list when it comes to overall satisfaction. Another notable absentee in the top 10 list was Whole Foods Market with non-competitive prices as the clear culprit for missing it, according to Minerva. Trader Joe’s comes in as the retailer shoppers find most satisfying with a 93% rating.

Across all retailers, shoppers say the biggest areas of improvement include price (20%), product selection (16%), check-outs (7%) and product availability (7%).

Top-ranked retailers were also recognized as the best for one or more specific store drivers: Trader Joe’s (company values, staff, check-outs, store brands and novelty products), Costco (product tastings and in-store events), Aldi (price), Publix (in-Stock and location) and Wegmans Food Markets (fresh perishables and wide assortment). All of these retailers offer extensive private brands.

Minerva conducted the study with more than 1,000 primary decision makers for grocery shopping nationwide in an online survey at the end of May. Read the entire report here.

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