Since the beginning of the year, German-owned discount supermarket ALDI has been leading the field for customer satisfaction. In August, it achieved a satisfaction score of 96%, just ahead of 2015’s Supermarket of the Year, Foodland, on 94%. Fellow independent IGA came in third (92%), while the top five was rounded out by Coles (91%) and Woolworths/Safeway (88%).
While the results of the monthly Roy Morgan Customer Satisfaction Awards are determined by one overall supermarket score, a more comprehensive understanding of the outcome is possible by examining each supermarket’s performance in the following sub-categories: bread, dairy, deli, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, meat, seafood, packaged groceries and general merchandise.
Supermarket satisfaction sub-categories: the ALDI effect
ALDI tops the list of six out of the nine sub-categories. Of the remaining three, Foodland satisfied its customers for bread, Woolworths/Safeway scored best for deli and Coles topped the list for seafood. Considering that ALDI supermarkets do not have fresh delicatessen or seafood counters, its absence from the top three for those particular sub-categories is understandable.
Norman Morris, industry communications director of Roy Morgan Research said, “According to the old saying, ‘You can’t please everyone all of the time’ – but that’s pretty much what supermarkets must do if they are to remain competitive. Witness ALDI’s market-leading performance, satisfying a mighty 96 per cent of its customers in August and excelling in six of the nine supermarket sub-categories.”
ALDI influence is growing as it continues its expansion in Australia. The proportion of South Australian residents who mainly or sometimes shop there has shot up to 19 per cent. A similar trend has happened in Western Australia since it opened in June.
“Meanwhile, news that fellow German discount supermarket Lidl is almost certain to enter the Australian market in the near future heralds yet further upheaval for the national supermarket scene. In anticipation of this, Coles, Woolworths and the independents would be wise to really consolidate on their customer satisfaction in the hope of boosting loyalty,” said Morris.
“Supermarkets wishing to future-proof their business in this increasingly competitive climate need a firm strategy that goes beyond ‘the customer is always right’ to what might be called ‘customer obsession’. To devise this, they must understand which demographic and psychographic factors shape their shoppers’ satisfaction, how this compares to their competitors, and what broader retail trends are at play.
“With their compelling low-price, no-frills approach, these German contenders may be formidable rivals, but that doesn’t mean all is lost for local supermarkets!” said Morris.