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“The entire business of food retailing would be a whole lot simpler if shoppers themselves were simpler,” write FMI’s Michael Sansolo in the new edition of Facts, Figures and the Future, available now from the Food Marketing Institute, ACNielsen, and Phil Lempert.

“If a retailer knew their shoppers only behaved in one way-say, were only interested in price or variety or convenience-the store could be perfectly geared that way,” Sansolo notes. “But nothing is that simple. Shoppers are complex beings who in the course of an individual day-even in the course of a shopping trip-can become many different people. The same shopper who wants to save money on some items might feel no conflict with stopping off at Starbuck's for a latte, even if might be a pricey cup of coffee. Or the battle between budget and convenience might leave a shopper paying more for easy to prepare or ready-to-eat items, even while they cherry pick specials.”

The result, Sansolo writes, is a supermarket industry still challenged by the realities and complexities of the marketplace.

Other features in F3 include:

  • Robert Tomei of VNU writes that “frequent shopper programs were supposed to build loyalty, but with 73 percent of program members belonging to more than one program according to the latest ACNielsen Homescan research, it appears that shoppers are more loyal to saving money than they are to any one retailer.” Which means that retailers have to do more with their data, examining its complexities with greater meticulousness, in order to achieve meaningful shopper loyalty.

  • ”The vast majority of households travel relatively small distances to shop their favorite Convenience/Gas, Drug, Grocery and Dollar Store retailer. For example, almost half of households travel less than one-mile to shop their favorite Convenience/Gas retailer and 75 percent or more of households travel five miles or less to shop their favorite Drug, Grocery, or Dollar Store retailer. Significant percentages of shoppers in the Mass Merchandiser, Supercenter and Club channels travel six miles or more to shop their favorite store. The Club channel fared the best in "distance draw" as 40 percent of Club channel shoppers travel eleven miles or farther and 15 percent travel greater than thirty miles. Retailers in these three channels have obviously learned how to leverage their value proposition to over-shadow the importance of convenience.”

  • Would it surprise you to know that almost two-thirds of households surveyed agreed with the statement that "I'm constantly looking for new ways to get the household chores (like shopping, cooking, cleaning) done faster." Do you think you are doing a good job catering to that need?

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