Research released today has revealed that consumers felt positive towards the UK’s supermarkets last year: two in five (41%) people say that the number one improvement to grocery retail in 2015 was ‘more value’, while a third (29%) – the second highest response – say it was ‘more choice / greater selection’.
According to the study, people also feel that supermarkets are offering more convenience than ever, with one in five (20%) saying so. This was followed by customer service (17% say so), though there were conflicting views here with 13% of respondents saying customer service is getting worse.
The State of Retail 2016 report was commissioned by retail marketing specialist Live & Breathe, asking 1,000 UK consumers for their views. The research also revealed that an increased click & collect service is improving the supermarket offering (14% said so), although less value appears to derive from the overall shopping experience: only 12% said it was getting better.
Viv Craske, head of innovation & digital at Live & Breathe, said: “2015 saw the growth of discounters as well as online and convenience formats, Amazon dipping its toes in the market and grocers slimming down ranges in large formats. But at the same time the supermarkets made a number of improvements to their grocery offering – and that hasn’t gone unnoticed by consumers.
“Click and collect appears to be a key factor in the future of retailing – both in and out of the grocery sector – 18% of shoppers say it changed the way they shopped last year. It’s something that has taken some retailers a while to get right and hasn’t always run smoothly, but is fast becoming an integral element of the supply chain and offering to shoppers.”
Shoppers’ top three complaints about supermarkets were: they were too busy with too-long queues (25%), stores all look the same/lacking character (15%) and customer service (13%).
Craske continues: “The percentage of shoppers reporting better value is something we saw across the sectors. While two in five of us cited supermarkets as being too busy, this figure was lower than those for the high street and shopping centres and malls.
“It seems that supermarkets are getting price and choice right. In 2016, the area of focus for supermarkets should be on customer service, personal service and reducing queues in-store. The grocer that focuses on these areas while maintaining scores for value, choice and a successful click and collect offering will gain a clear advantage with shoppers and maintain market share.”