Non-Grocery Retail is the clear winner worldwide, coming first in 11 countries including the Czech republic, and CEE is growing globally. In the Czech Republic, Non-Grocery Retail saw an overall improvement this year compared to 2021 and emerged as the clear winner in all the sectors. The four sector winners, Manufaktura, Dr. Max, IKEA and Sephora, also featured in the top 10 overall rankings.
In the sub-sector rankings, cosmetics retailers and pharmacy companies took the lead, significantly improving year-on-year. In general, customers welcome brands that appreciate them and their time. This factor helped the Hornbach DIY chain jump up the rankings this year. The firm stood out in the Time and Effort pillar and saw the second most significant jump in the study.
Customers like to patronize shops where they receive “something extra”. Besides loyalty rewards and expert advice, clients are attracted to causes with which they can identify: the environment, sustainability, social responsibility, and brands charitable activities.
The sector leaders attract customers with an excellent price-quality ratio and professional staff. A well-thought out and meaningful loyalty programme gives clients the confidence that the brand cares about them.
A little attention at just the right moment can help transform a customer’s problem into a positive experience, thus having an effect on the Resolution and Expectations pillars.
Pleasant and helpful staff, the relaxed atmosphere of bricks and mortar shops, and persistently high quality make customers love Manufaktura. And such factors helped the brand become the champion of the Non-Grocery Retail sector this year. The firm continues to push for sustainability. Manufaktura was first in the Czech Republic to receive the Humane Cosmetics Standard from the Cruelty Free International organization, now known as Leaping Bunny. This year, Manufaktura continued the trend by launching the sale of packaging-free products.
The Czech cosmetic love brand has acquired a huge fan base, mostly obviously seen in its successful loyalty programme. Seven months after it launched, over 50,000 customers joined, and more are signing up. Unsurprisingly, they keep returning to the shops for quality for which they are happy to pay extra, and for professional advice.
This year’s number two in the sector, pharmacy network Dr. Max, bases its approach on the availability of professional care. Customers appreciate the willingness and competence of the staff, the extensive branch network, and a wide range of medicines, all without extra cost, and the loyalty programme, which offers several benefits. This year, the brand strengthened its position as a leader in its field by opening a modern pharmacy laboratory, helping address market failures in the pharmaceutical industry.
The advice of professionals in the field also helped the IKEA brand secure a winning place. Although struggling recently with a lack of stock, the furniture retailer has not lost its shine in the eyes of customers. It won an imaginary bronze in the Retail rankings but also became the highest climber in the sector. Customers like that IKEA enhances their shopping experience with cafes and restaurants, and the extensive loyalty programme, with a wide range of discounts and gifts, such as complimentary tea or coffee. Furthermore, clients welcome help with interior design, and a high degree of personalization.
After the pandemic, customers were keen to get back to bricks and mortar shops. They could feel and smell items or obtain advice when choosing a product – no application can ever replace these advantages. However, enthusiasm remains for online tools that simplify shopping. Clients especially enjoy the advantages of hybrid “click and collect” sales.
Some brands go even further. IKEA is launching Scan and Buy, which saves customers time and effort when shopping. They scan the product code with their mobile application and pay at the express checkout. At Hornbach, customers now avoid the tiring process of unloading items onto the conveyor belt at the counter and manoeuvring them back into the trolley. In addition, the DIY store application also offers image-based identification if a customer has forgotten a product name.
Succeeding in retail means turning shopping or a service into an experience. IKEA takes such an approach with restaurants and cafes. Lush also emphasizes the shopping experience and enables customers to try out products and take samples home.
„DM is one of my favourites, and I really enjoy shopping there. It sells good-quality products at reasonable prices. I always find something there that meets my expectations. Plus, DM runs a super loyalty programme with amazing discounts.“
Woman, 20, DM
„I bought books through the online shop, but they had sold out before I had placed my order. The company sent me an email with an apology. Since my order had to be cancelled, I got a discount on the next purchase, to compensate for the problems with the previous order. I was delighted with the company’s gesture.“
Woman, 19, Knihy Dobrovský
„I like Manufaktura and have been shopping there for a few years. I love their approach to the environment and animal testing, and their use of product ingredients suitable for all skin types.“
Woman, 21, Manufaktura
„I love shopping with them. I’m very happy to support a Czech brand. My colleague and I order from them several times a year. I like their products, which do what they say. I recommend them to all.“
Woman, 23, Manufaktura
„You can find a pharmacy almost everywhere. Our favourite is Dr. Max. They always give you advice, and you can get everything you need. If they don’t have a product in their shops, you can have it delivered to your home.“
Woman, 23, Dr. Max
„I won’t hear a word against IKEA, which has furnished most of our flat, and we can’t complain about their prices. I also appreciate that you can put together a wardrobe the way you want. The furniture is modern.“
Woman, 23, IKEA
„We use this pharmacy through the online shop, mainly to order and the express collection in the bricks and mortar shop.“
Man, 32, Dr. Max
„I’ve been using their products for many years, for bodycare and hair and skincare. I like the ingredients, their fragrances, and the company’s environmental approach.“
Woman, 20, Manufaktura
The reputation of a love brand and the strengthening of brand integrity are also supported by a company’s socially responsible behaviour. In other words, the client can identify with the brand in terms of lifestyle or values. And here the winners of the Non-Grocery Retail sector have a lot to offer too.
Manufaktura relies ever more on a sustainable and humane approach. Dr. Max has long backed charity projects aimed mainly at senior citizens, children, and young people. And “bronze” winner IKEA lures customers with sustainability (electronic receipts and promising to end plastic packaging within three years) and charitable activities; through its project, IKEA is raising awareness of domestic violence.
Online sales became standard for most companies during the COVID-19 pandemic, but traditional bricks and mortar shops should not be overlooked. Customers often like to combine online and offline shopping, which explains why friendly and helpful staff remains one of the critical points of a successful customer experience. Some brands are also striving over the long term to be more sustainable and devote more attention to environmental protection.
„Always excellent. I ordered products but didn’t collect them in the end, even though I’d paid for them. IKEA contacted me, asking if I wanted them or if I should cancel the order. The staff were lovely. It was no problem. “
Woman, 32, IKEA
„I used the reservation (order) service online, with pickup at the shop within 30 minutes. After waiting five hours, I drove there without the shop having confirmed that the order was ready... They knew about the order, but it still wasn’t ready for me. As I ordered the last tablet in stock, I was told that I’d have to wait and that it was a display item. That was just too much. It still wasn’t ready in 5 hours, plus the tablet wasn’t wrapped, people had used it, and the shop was charging the full price...?“
Man, 29, X Company