Worldwide, Grocery Retail is the second most common sector leader after Non-Grocery Retail. Taking first place in the cross-sector comparison were, among others, Italy, the Netherlands, Taiwan, and the USA. In the Czech sector rankings, Grocery Retail came fourth, but thanks to Rohlík, it makes an appearance in the top 10. Overall, the sector has slightly improved its CEE rating since last year and has made progress in all pillars, the strongest of which is Time and Effort. But Lidl, in fourth place in the sector rankings, shows how important a role brand loyalty can also play.
Last year, we saw online food delivery surge; this year, we can see that its position has strengthened even more. Rohlík dominated the winners’ podium and in previous years climbed rung by rung. Third, trailing behind Globus, was its competitor Košík, which was also the biggest climber this year. Compared to last year, it moved up 29 places. The leaders’ rankings show the direction that Non-Grocery Retail should take: a wide assortment for different types of shoppers, as well as clarity and user-friendliness, and speed of delivery.
Grocery Retail includes two sub-sectors only: supermarkets and online shops. In the COVID-19 era, the traditional distinction between online and “offline” grocers has begun to blur – even typical bricks and mortar chains are increasingly offering online ordering. In this way, they are responding to customer wishes, as evidenced by positive experiences. People appreciate being able to order quickly, the willingness of the courier or staff and, above all, the time saved. Self-service checkouts or the Scan&Go system (both used by Globus) are partly replacing one of the most significant advantages of online food sales in bricks and mortar shops. Unlike online shops, bricks and mortar stores can enhance the shopping experience. They offer, among other things, the chance to taste various products, or give out children’s gifts at the checkout in exchange for points.
Minimum time and effort, ease of selection, maximum satisfaction, and the possibility to add items to the basket gradually, possibly throughout the day – the benefits that make people love online grocery shopping are attracting ever more customers. This year’s winner, Rohlík, gained its clients in the last two years, when many particularly appreciated its couriers. Their helpfulness is also highlighted in evaluations today. In addition, customers value on-time delivery and speedy resolution of complaints.
The loyalty system, sales and, last but not least, the ease of navigation of the website also often feature in favourable reviews. Customers associate these positive qualities with bronze medallist Košík too. In addition, this retailer gives a glimpse of how online grocery shopping could look in the future. It operates in small towns too, works closely with other brands, and in contrast to all of its rivals offers a voice search for products. In addition, Košík follows the trend of sustainable package-free products.
Grocery shopping online is about a user-friendly website and on-time delivery, while grocery shopping at bricks and mortar shops is about easily finding your way around the aisles and having a self-service checkout. The long opening hours, which customers mentioned with reference to Globus, are likewise crucial. This year’s number two in the sector takes this advantage to another level with the Scan&Go system, which eliminates one of the most annoying stages of the purchase.
„Goods are delivered to my home, good choice of delivery time, sales. Easy-to-navigate website. Helpful approach when handling complaints.“
Woman, 64, Rohlík
„Košík offers a wide product range and free delivery if you spend above a certain amount. It launched an excellent campaign – buy more for less (we use it a lot), and the collaboration with Kaufland and Iceland is excellent (Iceland will probably close in the Czech Republic now, which people will be disappointed about). Supporting farmers and locally sourced food is a fantastic idea too. Košík sells quality products at very reasonable prices, and you can find packaging-free groceries or items you can’t get elsewhere. A really wide choice. The delivery service is reliable, and I’ve yet to meet an unpleasant courier – always nice and helpful.“
Woman, 49, Košík.cz
„We do all our grocery shopping at Globus. We like it. And the Scan&Go system is great too – you buy and save products in the system as you like. You don’t have to go through it again and rearrange the order at the checkouts.“
Man, 34, Globus
„In my town, Lidl is one of the two supermarkets. I use Lidl mainly for regular smaller purchases or if I find out from a flyer that they have a promotion that I want to use, e.g., their Italian or Greek weeks, because at home we all like the food from these countries.“
Woman, 41, Lidl
For grocery chains, the level of customer identification with the brand is also playing an ever more important role. For Rohlík and Košík in particular, but also Globus, customers often mention that they visit the shop to buy their favourite products and that they like to return there. In this respect, Lidl is number one, receiving the “Best Potato Medal” in the overall rankings of the sector. Lidl boasts the highest customer loyalty of all grocery brands. Customers like to come back, especially for goods that they cannot obtain anywhere else and because of the low prices, the loyalty programme, and the very popular themed weeks with special deals. In addition, Lidl excels in labour efficiency. To ensure that its employees do not suffer burnout and for their working days to pass more quickly, they regularly take turns in different positions. Employees also use radios for more convenient and faster communication.
Gradually, the difference between online services and bricks and mortar supermarkets may start to disappear. For instance, Lidl operates an online shop, although so far it is selling non-food items only. Before long, grocery deliveries will be more profitable for the company. Once bricks and mortar shops start delivering, they will be a major threat to online supermarkets. However, if energy prices and inflation continue to rise, bricks and mortar shops will incur higher delivery costs. But it will remain the case that for some customers, visiting a bricks and mortar shop will continue to be a tradition and a way to relax, for example, by escaping from social networks. How to stand out from the competition? Build loyalty from the very first interaction with a customer. Run creative marketing campaigns, offer discounts, rewards and attractive deals, and use the data obtained from them to provide the best, tailored-made customer experience.
„I am completely satisfied. Both the ease of website navigation and the company communication – if someone does their shopping there regularly, the firm sends discount coupons, and when I write to them that the goods have been damaged, they return the amount as a credit for the next purchase. They just write machine-generated answers to the questions of what goods to include in the assortment. Empty words. But I’ll forgive Košík.“
Man, 41, Košík
„I downloaded their app so I could collect points and take advantage of the discounts that come with it. But I wasn’t quite sure how to use it, and when the cashier asked me if I had the app, I said yes but didn’t quite know how to get the code they needed. He replied in a very arrogant tone and said that it was my problem and that I should call for information. I think that every employee should have basic knowledge... I left very disappointed. I’ll think very carefully about visiting again.“
Woman, 30, X Company