Woolworths rules: Supermarket index

Woolworths leads the customer satisfaction rating within its peers in the supermarket basket while Shoprite and Checkers command higher levels of perceived value.

This is according to the South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) released for supermarkets released yesterday. The index seems to confirm recent market share trends observed in the broader retail sector.

Woolworths’ top position in customer satisfaction should not be surprising given the operation’s premium brand positioning. Shoprite positioning in the index is interesting in confirming the group’s dominant hold of market share as driven by its positioning to serve the mass market. Shoprite has in the past few years emerged strongly to topple Pick and Pay as a leader in broader retail market share terms.

Overall South African consumers gave supermarkets a customer satisfaction score of 79 out of 100 within the SAcsi.

SAcsi is a national economic indicator of customer satisfaction in the quality of products and services available to household consumers in South Africa.

The supermarkets measured were Woolworths, Pick n Pay, Spar, Checkers and Shoprite, all of which were selected by market share.

A SAcsi statement said Woolworths emerged as the industry leader, scoring 6.2% above the industry average satisfaction score. Pick n Pay, Spar and Checkers achieved a rating on par with the industry customer satisfaction score. Shoprite’s score was just below par (-2.4%).

 SAcsi said the overall customer satisfaction score is influenced by a number of factors, one of which is the customer’s expectations of the brand prior to his/her experience with it.

The statement said Woolworths customers have the highest level of expectation among those measured, which makes the retailer’s top satisfaction score even more of an achievement.  The customer satisfaction score recorded for Woolworths is the highest current score for comparable supermarkets in the USA (Publix: 82) and in the UK (Waitrose: 83).

Prof Andre Schreuder, founder and chair of SAcsi, said “South African customers rated our supermarkets higher in customer satisfaction (79) than supermarket customers in the USA (77) or the UK (75). South African supermarkets are second only to Greece, which recorded a score of 80”.

The statement noted that another factor in the SAcsi model which influences overall customer satisfaction is the customer’s perceived value. Perceived value is a customer’s perception of the quality given the price, and the price given the quality. Interestingly, a different picture emerged on the issue of perceived value, as Checkers and Shoprite both showed higher levels of perceived value than the other supermarkets measured.

One of the outcomes of customer satisfaction is customer loyalty in the SAcsi model. For this reason, given that Woolworths achieved the highest satisfaction score, it follows that this brand also reported a high customer loyalty score. Despite not scoring as highly as Woolworths in terms of customer satisfaction, Pick n Pay and Checkers also showed high customer loyalty scores.

Schreuder said “SAcsi is the only South African company to hold a licence with the acclaimed American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), and now forms part of a growing number of ACSI-licensed partner countries worldwide. Its patented system is the only benchmark model that allows licenced partners to match the statistical models used to generate ACSI results,” he says.

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