Some of the higher performing grocery banners — including Meijer, Publix and Kroger — appeared in the second quartile of retailers in the survey. This quartile had the highest top-of-mind recall and the second-highest financial performance. The group did not perform as well as the top quartile because their price and quality scores were not as strong, but the second group differentiated itself by excelling at secondary preference drivers, such as promotions, rewards and information, the study concluded.
Walmart’s efforts to improve its digital commerce operations and to be a one-stop shopping destination helped the company earn its top-10 ranking, the study found. The retailer ranked first in convenience, third in digital and fourth in prices, helping it overcome bottom-quartile performances in quality, speed, discounts and operations.
The report also divided retailers into four segments based on their price, quality and emotional scores. The “premium” segment scored high in quality but below average in price, while the “price focused” segment tended to do the opposite. The “balanced value” segment either scored above average in both price and quality or was slightly below average in one or the other.
The remainder of the banners in the survey fell into what was described as the “struggling mainstream,” all of which scored below average on price perception, despite often achieving high scores in quality.
The report concluded that a strong price perception was a more consistent driver of financial performance, while quality was more closely correlated with a strong emotional connection. The price-focused and balanced-value segments tended to have stronger and more consistent total sales and sales per store growth, the research found.
Interestingly, the report also found that each of the segments had perceived strengths in certain product categories. The struggling mainstream retailers tended to be strong in dairy, meat/seafood and bakery/deli, while the price-focused retailers tended to be strongest in cleaning products, paper and packaged foods. The premium segment had perceived strengths in natural/organic, bakery/deli and ready-to-eat.
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