Non-Grocery Retail

Non-Grocery Retail always did well. This year it ceded the winner’s crown to Logistics. Despite some year-on-year stagnation, it maintains a very good rating average. One retail trend worth following is customers putting more emphasis on quality and uniqueness, especially when it comes to fashion, which bodes well for higher-end brands. Cosmetics is another strong subsector, and yet another win for Manufaktura is all the proof you need. Second spot in the sector was claimed by Alza, who is also one of the study’s top risers. The third place was taken by a member of another strong subsector, Knihy Dobrovský bookshops.

Books, cosmetics, electronics – people want it all

Book retail has established a firm presence in the sector, scoring high above the market average mostly thanks to good value for money, loyalty, and expectations. The cosmetics sector is also doing very well, while online services excel in value for money, sitting high above the market average. Pharmacies and optician’s shops received good scores as well, closely followed by sellers of electronics and sports goods.

In some pillars, lower ratings are caused by the sector’s nature – for instance, the jewellery subsector doesn’t do too well in terms of value for money, and pet supply stores also have their work cut out for them in this pillar, despite doing very well in time and effort. Online retail received lower ratings across all pillars, with clothing retailers scoring below the sector’s average along with home goods and, surprisingly, toy stores. Petrol stations, on the other hand, took the lead in personalization, and two representatives of the subsector are among this year’s top risers: OMV and MOL.

Petrol stations are not just about getting petrol anymore. With electric cars on the rise, more and more are getting outfitted with EV charging stations, and that means more drivers who have to wait longer for their cars to recharge. Czech petrol stations are known for their competition for the best coffee and hotdogs, but the time has come to add more services. After all, it’s a perfect opportunity to do something nice and useful for the customers and to strengthen their relationship with their favourite petrol station brand.

Easy shopping is the way

Navigating countless stores with almost identical products can be challenging – which makes the success of brands who can keep a good balance between their assortment size and clarity even more deserved. Some even take it a step further and provide customers with knowledgeable advice and a digital catalogue of their goods. That’s where Alza did an outstanding job this year, jumping from number 33 last year to number 2 in the sector. Having greatly improved personalization and increased its CEE score, Alza managed to catch up to Manufaktura – the sector’s winner –, and if it can stay the course, Alza could very well make a serious play for the win next year.

So how does Alza win customers? With a broad selection of goods, extra services and customer care, its own network of self-service pick-up lockers and a user-friendly app that, in some stores, allows you to start the pick-up process before you even enter the store, so not a single second is wasted. One way to win customers is to make your brand synonymous with quality – exactly what both Alza and Manufaktura have managed to do, with the latter attracting customers with their ingredients and the brand’s emphasis on sustainability. And despite Manufaktura losing a few points in the value metric compared to last year, probably due to the need to increase prices to maintain the same level of quality, the company compensates for it with excellent in-store service. Still, the brand’s total score has dropped slightly this year, with lower ratings in empathy, time and effort, and resolution. Personalization remains Manufaktura’s strongest pillar, mostly thanks to positive reviews of in-store staff’s personal approach and customer support.

Top three (scale 0–10)

Manufaktura 8,11
Alza 7,94
Knihy Dobrovský 7,91
„I went to Manufaktura to buy a present for Women’s Day. I had no idea what to get, but thankfully the shop assistant helped me by suggesting a set of hand lotions with different scents since I wasn’t not sure about the recipient’s preferences. The gift was also wrapped beautifully and the lady who assisted me was very nice.“
Man, age 35, Manufaktura
„The in-store staff are very friendly and professional; their advice really helped me pick. I’ve only had good experience with Manufaktura products, and I made several purchases already. When a product I used was discontinued, the shop assistants helped me pick a suitable replacement and gave me samples of several other products.“
Woman, age 49, Manufaktura
„Getting a parcel delivered to AlzaBox was fast and easy; the product arrived quickly and without issues. I don’t think Alza is too expensive. Plus, their staff are always friendly.“
Man, age 18, Alza
„The best online book store. Great deals that are offered regularly, super cheap delivery. I am very happy. Of all the similar online stores, I do most of my shopping here.“
Woman, 39, Knihy Dobrovský

Great deals online, great attitude offline

The positive reviews of the sector’s leaders clearly show that customers got accustomed to the pros of online shopping, but they still like to shop offline, too, especially when it comes to items you pick “with all your senses”.

A pleasant shopping environment can do wonders in terms of how prices are perceived – even when they are on the higher end – and improve customer loyalty. Knihy Dobrovský, for instance, is often praised for personnel who can suggest books based on the customer’s preferences. Still, many people prefer to shop online when buying something you don’t need to try or touch. And when they do shop online, they value speedy and cheap delivery. An example of pro-customer approach? Alza’s option to have goods delivered into an AlzaBox the next morning when you order before midnight.

Shop and save

A contradictory statement at first glance, but in the long term, it actually makes sense, especially for brands with direct competition selling similar or identical products or services. Whether it’s a bookshop or a filling station, in these sectors, customers tend to choose whatever option is physically closest. That means brands have to put extra effort into gaining their favour. How? Knihy Dobrovský offers discounts for accumulated points, free e-books as a reward for making a purchase at least once a month, and special, online-only discounts.

Extra bonuses for loyal customers are also what helped OMV become the sector’s top climber. In the second half of last year, the company became the first to launch a loyalty programme in Czechia, complete with an OMV MyStation app where customers collect rewards for their purchases – like free coffee or a carwash discount. This move helped OMV make a huge improvement in the coveted personalization pillar and the value metric.

Smart solutions

Amazon is a real trailblazer when it comes to innovative use of AI. Most recently, the company came up with a truly futuristic feature for their Amazon One system – palm scan payment. With the help of AI, which created an enormous number of imaginary palms, Amazon was able to put this innovative payment system through some rigorous training.

Amazon also uses AI to summarize customer reviews in their app – so you can see right away what others liked and what they did not. This means you can say goodbye to a system based solely on the number of stars or points. Instead, the system uses data like value for money or data on the quality of used materials. The result? A much more precise product rating.

And while we’re stateside, let’s look at Walmart, who has been successfully using AI to analyse shopping habits and suggest related products. For instance, when you buy diapers, the system can analyse when you bought them last and if, perhaps, you should switch your baby to a bigger size.

Designer-like visuals

You may have heard of – or even used – IKEA’s AI tool that turns you into an interior designer. Use the app to take pictures of a room that needs furnishing, and then use your mobile device or computer to pick furniture and decorations from IKEA’s catalogue, all adjusted to match the room’s scale and dimensions. Say goodbye to the measuring tape and hand-drawn room plans and diagrams. This tool allows you to see if whatever you picked can fit into the room and what other items would look nice with it.

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AI’s recognition features could support or completely replace categorization and filtering systems that we’re used to seeing in online stores. There’s a huge potential for clothing shops here: generative AI capable of recognizing styles, colours, and fits, down to the small nuances, and therefore able to make better recommendations for similar products or matching accessories.

Non-grocery Retail

1,0 %
Time and Effort
Čas a úsilí
-4,2 %
-2,9 %
-1,5 %
Řešení problémů
-2,6 %
-3.4 %

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