Best supermarkets revealed

Coles and Woolworths have almost 62 per cent of Australia’s grocery market, but how satisfied are their customers with their service?

The answer was revealed in a CHOICE survey of 2886 supermarket shoppers. The results would not have set off alarm bells at headquarters, but the pair did end up finishing in the bottom two positions in a comparison of the eight biggest supermarket chains in Australia.

Shoppers were asked to rate their supermarkets according to 18 different criteria, including: range of products, availability of locally produced goods, quality of the supermarket’s own brand products, quality of fresh produce, value for money, frequency of specials, clarity of unit pricing, helpfulness of staff and speed and ease of checkout.

Shoppers were also asked for their biggest gripes.

South Australian-based Foodland (82 per cent) was rated your favourite supermarket, closely followed by NSW-based Harris Farm Markets (81 per cent). Then followed Costco (76 per cent), Aldi (74 per cent), IGA/Super IGA (73 per cent), Foodworks (71 per cent), Woolworths (69 per cent) and Coles (67 per cent).

The major contributors to Foodland’s rating were ease of locating items, ease of use of shopping trolleys/baskets, speed and ease of checkout and clarity of signage showing unit pricing.

For Harris Farm Markets, it was quality of fresh produce, and for Aldi and Costco, value for money.

Coles was criticised for: availability of locally produced food products, speed and ease of checkout, quality of fresh produce, ease of parking, product availability and helpfulness of staff. Woolworths escaped censure.

CHOICE reports that while overall satisfaction scores were generally positive, some aspects of shopping at supermarkets regularly incensed even the most seasoned shoppers.

The top five frustrations were:

  • too much packaging on products (54 per cent)
  • lack of locally produced products (45 per cent)
  • long wait at the checkout (43 per cent)
  • products being unavailable/sold out (42 per cent)
  • lack of staff member to provide assistance (37 per cent)

“There’s more to attracting and keeping customers than simply having a lot of stores,” report author and CHOICE food expert Rachel Clemons wrote. “You need to provide a positive shopping experience too.”

In other supermarket news, Coles has announced it is taking on Costco in the bulk-buy department.

It has launched a new strategy that will see it expand into the bulk-product market, with more than 25 products including dinner staples, condiments and baking products set to appear on shelves in supersized form.

Do you choose your supermarket according to location or are you prepared to go further for satisfaction? Is packaging one of your key gripes?

Written by Janelle Ward

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