Putting a Stop to Shoppers Shopping Elsewhere
By George Anderson
Todd Hale, senior vice president for ACNielsen’s Consumer Insights’ business, writes in the February issue of the e-publication Facts, Figures & the Future (published jointly by ACNielsen, FMI and The Lempert Report) that consumers continue to shop at supermarkets less frequently than in the past and reversing the trend may be difficult but not impossible.
According to ACNielsen’s research, the number of annual visits shoppers made to supermarkets dropped by 92 in 1995 to 69 last year.
Mr. Hale says the reason behind this decline can be tied to two primary factors: 1) Consumers are shopping in multiple outlets because no single destination meets their individual needs. 2) People are increasingly focused on saving time and making their lives more convenient. This makes destinations that can get closest to fulfilling consumers’ needs in a single shop more desirable.
There are a number of strategies Mr. Hale believes may be successful in helping supermarkets get a larger portion of their customers’ total shopping visits. These include making greater use of store-within-the-store concepts or promotional tie-ins with other retailers. In areas where warehouse clubs are strong, an expanded selection of club pack sizes in key categories can give consumers a shopping alternative.
While these suggestions are not new, Mr. Hale points out that the key behind the success of these or any other initiatives is “for retailers to assess consumer attitudes not only toward supermarkets, but toward other stores as well in order to determine why some are shopped more than others. Is it a matter of price, variety, convenience – or a combination of all three? Find out what’s most important to your consumers and you can begin to see how to capture more of their business.”
Moderator’s Comment: Will supermarkets’ share of shopping visits continue to decline? What, if anything, can supermarkets
do to reverse this trend? –
George Anderson – Moderator