In comparison with the other sectors, food retailers have maintained their average since last year. Apart from the time and effort and empathy pillars, which remain at the same level as in 2019, their performance in the individual pillars of customer experience has declined slightly. Nevertheless, they enjoy exceptional customer loyalty – they are better in this than other sectors in this metric. This year, 11 out of 13 brands in the sector made the Top 100.
Two trends have emerged in the industry. The first is the endeavour to save the customer as much time as possible (thus, the sector enjoys a good score in the time and effort pillar). A clear example of such effort is online shopping and home delivery, but brands are also making life easier for those who want to see products in a shop. One way customers save time is with a scanner, with which they process their purchases themselves. Therefore, they need not wait in long checkout queues. The other trend is the emphasis on the quality, freshness and local supply of food (e.g. farm products).
Leading the rankings is Lidl, which jumped 11 places to 14th overall compared with the 2019 results. Customers particularly like the low prices, smooth complaints resolution, and willing and supportive staff in the shops. “At Lidl, I asked the security guard for help with putting heavy things in the basket. He was very kind and gave me a hand, and at the checkout, too. The security guard was also waiting for me there and helped me to put the groceries in my trolley (I’m disabled and use crutches). I appreciated that a lot.” The Lidl online shop is also popular; exchanging or returning goods is a smooth process here, too. Besides Lidl, Albert and Coop (up 40 and 41, respectively) have jumped ahead in the Top 100.
Grocery chains, like logistics companies, had to address a surge in demand when the coronavirus hit. Online grocery shopping has enjoyed a boom, as customers face restricted movement in a state of emergency. Some of them have started doing more of their shopping online. For retailers, this meant ensuring enough supplies, couriers and packaging, so that they could serve customers without complications, on time and in compliance with hygiene regulations.
Were a retailer able to rise to this challenge, customers valued all these aspects (observance of hygiene requirements, not just in shops, being able to shop online, and the reserved hours for senior citizens, which they acknowledged). Many said that the only serious shortcoming was the requirement to use a payment card in the state of emergency: “I wanted to order things for myself, my small child and my elderly granny because of the lockdown. Unfortunately, we don’t have a payment card, and the company doesn’t accept cash payments. So I couldn’t buy things!!! This is discrimination and illegal because the shop must accept cash!!!! It’s not a legal obligation for me or anyone in my family to have a payment card. The shop has put me at a total disadvantage and made it impossible for me to buy food!!!”
Globus: “My favourite supermarket. They’ve got everything there, and Scan & go is a big hit. It saves loads of time. And now, in the pandemic, they do a great job keeping customers and employees safe :).” (Woman, 24)
“I usually shop online via Rohlík.cz. Before, it was about once a month for bigger purchases, which would make it difficult for me to lug my shopping around on public transport. And that would be unnecessary. At the moment, in the pandemic, I shop at Rohlik.cz once a week so that I don’t have to go to a bricks and mortar shop so often. Things cost a bit more, but that’s the price I pay for convenience and, these days, for safety, too.” (Woman, 24)
Tesco: “Weekly shopping. I’m pleased with it, especially now in the lockdown, when there’s a specific time for pensioners.” (Man, 70)