What Do Customers Want In A Grocery Store

The grocery business is constantly changing and has become very competitive, and customer tastes are also evolving as time changes. Nowadays, quality goods and stocked shelves are not the only things customers expect when they walk into a grocery store.

To run a successful grocery store, you must consider your customers' needs and expectations. Since every customer is unique, it is easy to be confused about what customers want in a grocery store. In this article, we’ve come up with ways to boost customer satisfaction, detailing aspects of the shopping experience that can be improved.

Living Up To Customer Expectations In Your Grocery Store

Grocery stores play a significant role in any society. They are an important part of society and the economy as a whole because of one main objective- the provision of food.

Food is a necessity in life. Everyone has to eat, and subsequently, they will have to visit a grocery store and purchase food to do so.

The grocery business started with Clarence Saunders’ Piggly Wiggly store, established in 1916. His ideas were innovative in creating what will now be known as a popular line of business that helps food distribution in a community.

Grocery stores, along with convenience stores, drug stores, mass merchandisers, and food service facilities, make up the retail food industry in the United States. From traditional brick-and-mortar stores to industry giants like Walmart and Target, all five facets of the food retail industry contribute significantly to the economic health of the United States.

In the U.S alone, the grocery store market size is worth $765.2 billion in 2022. This accounts for a large financial contribution to the economy.

Despite the massive revenue grocery stores have taken in so far, there isn’t any sign of stopping in sight. The grocery store market is set to grow 1.1% in 2022 and continue expanding in the foreseeable future.

One major factor that plays a role in the industry's success is how many grocery store establishments exist. There are about 63,419 grocery store establishments in the United States in 2022.

The grocery store business is a highly lucrative and competitive one. This high number of establishments means you have more businesses to compete with for sales and a sturdy customer base.

To help your grocery store become a successful establishment that does better than your competition, you must provide customer satisfaction through customer experience.

Customer experience is the sum of affective, sensory, and behavioral consumer responses to operations in your establishment. It encloses features like the quality of your customer care, advertising, packaging, service features, and convenience.

To truly satisfy a customer that walks into your grocery store, you have to tick every box in their list of needs. Since every customer is unique and different, this can prove to be a challenging feat.

While knowing every customer is great for personalizing their experience, it is a luxury many grocery stores cannot afford since they deal with many people daily. Instead, it is better to focus on what every grocery shopper wants in a grocery store and how to provide this in your establishment.

Knowing what customers look for in grocery stores where they choose to shop and implementing these features in your business will help you ensure customer satisfaction.

Since satisfied customers are happy customers and happy customers are loyal customers, giving your customers exactly what they want is an easy way to build a profitable customer base and a positive reputation.

Things Customers Look For In A Grocery Store

Everyone loves shopping, some even more than others. Everyone has to engage with grocery stores one way or the other if we want to eat and stock up at home. However, people don't just wind up in any grocery store. They always choose to go to grocery stores that know what they need and provide these needs.

When a grocery store does not live up to the customers’ expectations, customers observe a huge gap between the brand and the customers, which leads to customer dissatisfaction.

This can lead to grocery stores losing loyal customers, drastically decreasing their profitability and making it more challenging to build a customer base.

A grocery store’s sales solely depend on customer satisfaction and the experience delivered to the customers. The first step to providing these is knowing what your customers want.

We have put together important things customers look for in a grocery store in 2022 and how you can use these to boost customer satisfaction.

1. Customer Convenience

Customers always look out for stores that make shopping easy with fewer complications. They want to quickly pick up items they need without having to search for them, and check out their purchases without stress.

The quest for convenience is a significant factor that has led many shoppers to give up weekly grocery rounds for the easier online grocery shopping option. With many apps and websites designed to help customers shop for food items without leaving the comfort of their homes, people no longer see the need to abandon comfort in favor of pushing a shopping cart down the aisle in a physical grocery store.

Convenience is one reason many grocery stores continue to lose customers. Without a convenient shopping option, your customers will be forced to look elsewhere in search of the convenience your store cannot provide.

To remain relevant in the competitive grocery store industry, you must implement features that will give you an edge over your competition. One way to do this is by implementing an online shopping option.

Online grocery brands are becoming as popular as physical brick-and-mortar stores. Online grocery sales skyrocketed due to the Covid-19 outbreak, reaching a market size of 6.4 billion U.S. dollars in October 2021. Since then, the sales made on online platforms have shown no sign of slowing down.

It is a great idea to diversify your grocery store business to take advantage of the growing e-commerce retail food and beverage business.

By having a separate platform where customers can place orders for food items without stepping foot in your establishment, you can keep sales coming in even if the aisles are not filled. This will help you retain customers and not lose them to other grocers that offer online grocery order and delivery services.

2. Spacious Store

A cramped and restricted grocery store is an instant deal-breaker for many grocery shoppers. While your grocery store doesn't have to span two blocks, it should be designed in a layout that is airy and spacious enough for shoppers to navigate the aisles with ease.

Your grocery store should have aisles wide enough to accommodate two shoppers shopping on shelves in each direction. It should provide enough space, so your shoppers do not bump into each other or spill their goods as they go around their business.

Your store might have limited space, so it is essential to have a layout that makes the most out of available space. Ensure your grocery store is arranged without compromising the flow of shoppers. This will ensure your customers remain comfortable as they shop.

3. Excellent Product Arrangement

Proper arrangements and labeling of products according to each section would give customers easy access to the products without having to go through the stress of searching for a particular product. This would make their shopping faster, stress-free, and more convenient.

It is essential to use several in-store pointers to help clients know which products are in shat directions. You can make use of aisle and shelf-edge displays to point customers in the right direction and reduce the time they spend wandering aimlessly in search of particular products.

It also helps to ensure that popular and most-used products are within easy reach.

4. Great Stock Maintenance

Customers expect grocery stores to maintain stock availability regardless of limiting factors like distribution delays, product scarcity, and supply chain interruptions. Consumers are looking for stores that provide a large variety of products and services that are unique, fresh, appealing and diverse.

When you constantly run out of particular products shoppers need, customers will be convinced you cannot provide this product. This will cause them to visit other grocery stores searching for the products you don’t have.

Understandably, stocking up on all types of products can lead to a loss, especially if your customers don’t buy them or the products stay too long on the shelves.

Instead of stocking up on all products, create an inventory of most-asked-for products and the least-purchased ones. When you draft up your list, you can purchase these products in amounts that vary with how they are needed.

5. Cleanliness

Cleanliness can also have a significant impact on the experience of shoppers in your grocery store.

A clean grocery store contributes greatly to customer satisfaction. Cleaning should be done effectively and consistently.

Due to the pandemic, consumers hesitate to enter any physical stores as they have developed higher expectations of safety than ever before. Consumers are constantly looking for grocery stores that ensure safety precautions are put in place for their staff and customers.

A clean grocery store is very important because a store with a bad odor, dirty environment, dirty restrooms, and dirty and dusty surfaces is a total turn-off for customers. No one wants to shop for food in an unhygienic area.

The most visible areas of a grocery store are the floors, displays, shelves, and refrigerators in which food is placed. The cleanliness of these places is very important to increase customer satisfaction and ensure the customers feel safe enough to purchase goods in the store.

When it comes to food, ensuring it is handled in a clean environment is extremely important. The surfaces where food is placed should be cleaned constantly. First with soap and water, then with a safe and approved disinfectant. The doors, door handles, shopping carts and baskets, and restrooms should also be disinfected properly and regularly.

The doors should be cleaned with soap and water or glass cleaner and then properly sanitized. Shopping carts and baskets can be cleaned the same way as the shelves and displays, by wiping them down with soap and water before using a disinfectant.

Although not everyone that goes to the store uses the restroom, the restroom is a place that inhibits germs. Cleaning the restroom in the grocery store is very important. It would improve the safety of your customers and also help build a customer experience.

Another important factor of a clean store is the floors and air vents. Dirt on these surfaces may be visible or microscopic and will create an unhealthy environment for your employees and shoppers.

It is essential to clean your air vents regularly when necessary to eliminate the circulation first in the store. This dirt will find its way onto surfaces that shoppers touch. Some will even land on food items. This compromises people’s health and safety.

Shoppers collect lots of dirt underneath their shoes, and this can be transferred all over the floors of the grocery store. These can leave stains and track unhealthy items all over the store. The floors must be swept and cleaned properly and regularly.

A clean store not only looks and smells good but provides a promise of great hygiene that ensures your shoppers remain safe in your establishment.

6. Availability Of Self-Service Checkout

Having to queue in long lines in grocery stores is a major complaint among shoppers. Most shoppers do not have the time to queue at the checkout counters, and in several stores, checkout counters are either closed or limited. This can leave your customers frustrated and unsatisfied.

One way to combat this dissatisfaction is to introduce self-checkout machines. Not only does this help decrease the number of shoppers in the long line, but it also gives shoppers another activity to do without worrying about queues and crowds.

Self-checkout options speed up the processing and reduce the need for additional staff in the establishment. Not to mention, customers like the idea of an immersive shopping feature that gives them rein over their shopping experiences without needing to depend on a staff member.

7. Discounts

Shoppers want to feel like they are getting value for products. They also like incentives, especially those that help them save money. This is why many shoppers visit grocery stores that offer great prices and discount offers.

Discount offers provide a competitive advantage as customers are happier with establishments that provide discounts and other promotional offers. This increases customer loyalty, increases sales and boosts your brand reputation.

8. Customer-Friendly Services

To have a successful grocery business, the brand should prioritize excellent customer service. This includes friendly and helpful associates willing to go out of their way to assist and satisfy customers.

Customers want grocery staff to be helpful and welcoming. This would build up customer loyalty, make them feel at ease and help make their experience at the store seamless and hassle-free.

9. Quality Produce

Quality produce is a major factor determining whether a shopper will patronize your grocery store. Shoppers want a place to buy fresh produce that gives them value for their money. To keep your customers happy, you must keep your shelves, displays, and refrigerators stocked with fresh produce.

Giving The Best In Your Grocery Store

Knowing what your customers want is the first step to making them satisfied. With knowledge of what they want, you can tailor the shopping experience to provide maximum shopping experience and satisfaction.

Although this list is nowhere near exhaustive, the factors on the list are essential in making customers happy. By implementing these in your grocery store operations, you can grow a customer base that helps your grocery store become a successful business enterprise.