The gap closes in the battle of the supermarkets

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The 2018 South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SA-csi) for Supermarkets, conducted by Consulta shows that the gap between the different brands’ service is closing with Woolworths marginally maintaining the best overall customer experience among South Africa’s big five supermarket brands that includes Pick n Pay, Spar, Checkers and Shoprite.

Competing for customer loyalty through customer satisfaction, the various brands are going all out to stand out in the marketplace and attract consumers to their stores.

  • Spar’s focus on ‘convenience location’, freshly prepared foods and customer engagement is paying dividends with the brand enjoying significant and consistent year-on-year improvements in almost all measures of customer satisfaction
  • Since the previous measure in 2016, all brands have succeeded in achieving customer expectations, with Woolworths still leading the field (although with a decrease score from 2016) together with Spar.
  • On perceived value (how much value customers feel they received for the price paid against the quality of the experience), Checkers came out as the leader, with Spar the only brand that showed a marked increase in its perceived value score from 2016. Woolworths seems to struggle with this aspect of their value proposition as they are still perceived as being the most expensive supermarket brand.
  • With regards complaints handling, which by world standards are handled well by SA’s supermarkets, Checkers performed best at handling complaints while Shoprite was rated lowest. Pick n Pay recorded the most customer complains specifically about expired food, incorrect shelf prices and its Smart Shopper loyalty card.
  • In customer loyalty Shoprite scored the lowest with a marked decrease in its score from 2016 with Woolworths having the highest loyalty score but with only a marginal increase from 2016.

According to Adré Schreuder, SA-csi founder and chairman, while there were top performers in each of the measures of customer satisfaction, there were no outright winners who performed best across all categories and who are successfully managing all facets of customer satisfaction. “Similarly, while brands may have maintained their lead in certain measures, they have done so with decreasing scores when compared with previous years.”

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