Trader Joe’s and Wegmans satisfy, others falter, through the pandemic
In-store grocery shopping experiences since March have, by-and-large, not been a lot of fun. Some retailers, however, have managed to provide the kind of service experience that customers are looking for despite an environment of restrictions and uncertainty. A new survey shows a few in particular, already known for their customer experience, that have managed to maintain high customer satisfaction levels even in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) released its Special COVID-19 Retail Study, which listed a few familiar names again at the top, despite an overall downturn of 3.8 percent in customer satisfaction at supermarkets. In the survey, Trader Joe’s and Wegmans tied at the top with scores of 84. Publix and Costco came in slightly lower at 83.
All four retailers had performed well in the ACSI Retail and Consumer Shipping Report 2019-2020, the organization’s yearly report released in February. In that report Trader Joe’s was at 84 points, having slipped two percent from the previous year. Wegmans was also ranked at the top for satisfaction.
H-E-B, which was a top performer along with Trader Joe’s and Wegmans in the earlier report, dropped two points during the pandemic. Most notable in terms of grocery losses, both Target and Whole Foods dropped four percent and, in e-tail, Amazon dropped seven percent.
Trader Joe’s has remained on top in the customer service rankings despite forgoing some of the services that grocers have come to see as necessary in the pandemic era; the chain has implemented neither delivery nor curbside pickup.
Part of Wegmans’ success may be due in part to its adjustment of SKUs in order to prevent out-of-stocks at the first peak of the pandemic, when panic buying left many grocery store shelves empty nationwide.
Amazon’s low scores track with its high-profile stumbles made early in the pandemic. At the onset of the pandemic, customers ordering from the e-tail giant were subjected to unprecedentedly long wait times and having non-essential orders placed on hold as the company struggled to meet the new pandemic-era demands.
- Amazon Falters During COVID-19, While Costco, Etsy, and Nordstrom Take the Internet Retail Crown, ACSI Data Show – BusinessWire
- ACSI Retail and Consumer Shipping Report 2019-2020 – ACSI
- Can Trader Joe’s continue thriving without delivery and curbside pickup? – RetailWire
- Will Wegmans need a post-pandemic makeover? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Why do you think Trader Joe’s, Wegmans, Costco and Publix have been able to stand out for customer service even during the pandemic? What do you see as the most immediate solutions to maintaining and improving customer satisfaction levels at this point in time?