New study dings Walmart store experience AND price

Walmart knows it isn’t going to win any supermarket industry prizes for store experience, not when operators such as Whole Foods and Publix are involved, but not leading the pack on price is a different matter.

A study of 6,645 consumers in May conducted by Market Force was designed to uncover where consumers prefer to shop and rated companies on different satisfaction measures to produce a customer delight index. Those ranked highest overall in the upper right quadrant were familiar names that tend to top such rankings, including Traders Joe’s, Publix, Whole Foods, Wegmans and Aldi. Walmart ranked lowest on the delight index and appeared in the low left hand quadrant, which is somewhat ironic considering the company’s status as the nation's largest food retailer. Those looking to understand this dichotomy could point to the fact that 60% of participants said their household incomes were above $50,000. Consequently, there may have been some anti-Walmart bias built in as there is a tendency among more affluent shoppers to look down their noses at the great unwashed masses who frequent Walmart and factor into their assessment of the store experience.

In addition, the study said it was designed to uncover where shoppers “prefer” to shop which could be materially different from where they “actually” do the majority of their shopping. However, such distinctions are splitting hairs and the bottom line is the results are disconcerting for a retailer intent of elevating perceptions of its food shopping experience and has featured produce and meat in recent national ad campaigns.

What’s also concerning from Walmart’s perspective is that the company did not lead the pack on price perception. That distinction fell to Aldi and then WinCo Foods, followed by Walmart, Costco and Sam’s Club.

Click here to read the study.