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Australians’ favourite liquor stores

liquorFirst Choice Liquor is the top choice once again for the third time in a row in the Liquor Store category of Roy Morgan’s Customer Satisfaction Awards, with a score of just over 93 per cent in August.

Less than a percent separates the Coles-affiliated liquor superstore from its runner up Cellarbrations (93%), while its rival Dan Murph is close behind in third place (92%).

“Overall, the country’s liquor retailers are doing a good job of keeping their customers satisfied, with most achieving satisfaction scores in the 90s and high 80s during August. We congratulate First Choice Liquor for excelling in such a competitive field,” said Norman Morris, industry communications director of Roy Morgan Research.

Only IGA Liquor lags behind, satisfying a relatively low 76 per cent of its customers (a dramatic yearly decline from 91 per cent in August 2015). This decline is a striking contrast to Cellarbrations, which has gone from satisfying 78 per cent of its customers to 93 per cent in the same period.

“Cellarbrations have made huge inroads in customer satisfaction over the last 12 months, even as their IBA stablemate IGA Liquor’s satisfaction levels have fallen. These shifting satisfaction levels appear to coincide with IBA converting its IGA Liquor outlets to Cellarbrations in WA, potentially signalling a new phase for both chains – we will certainly be monitoring them closely in coming months,” Morris said.

Despite their near-identical satisfaction scores, Roy Morgan data from the 12 months to June 2016 suggests that people who usually shop at First Choice and Cellarbrations may be happy for several different reasons.

“The difference between what First Choice, Cellarbrations and Dan Murphy’s customers look for when shopping for booze is a case in point. Each chain may satisfy a similarly high proportion of their shoppers, but in each case, satisfaction appears to be driven by very different factors,” he further shared.

The two groups revealed some strikingly different priorities. The store location is important to a substantially higher proportion of Cellarbrations customers (48%) than First Choice customers (28%); while ‘good value’ matters much more to First Choice customers (81%) than those who shop at Cellarbrations (61%).

Moreover, customers who usually shop at First Choice are far more likely than their Cellarbrations counterparts to consider ‘a good range’, ‘good weekly specials’ and a ‘good place for buying bulk purchases’ important when buying alcohol, even as Cellarbrations customers place a higher priority on ‘helpful staff’ and the store being ‘close to home’.

Meanwhile, a convenient location is not a priority for people who usually shop at Dan Murphy’s. Less than half (44%) nominate ‘Close to home’ and less than a quarter (24%) name ‘Located where I do other shopping’ as important factors when buying alcohol, being more concerned with ‘good value’ (84%) and a ‘good range’ (55%).

Also, Coles enters the liquor industry with its new low-cost alcohol venture, Liquor Market. Morris said only time will tell how it will compete with the other leading liquor brands.

“With factors as diverse as store convenience, range of stock, price, staff and even store layout being of varying importance to different kinds of alcohol shopper, it is a challenge for bottle shops to hit on a winning formula for success,” said Morris.

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