Woolworths, the food and clothing retailer, has hit the high spots in an in-depth analysis of South African food supermarkets. This is during tough economic times, according to a top analytical report.
With a substantially higher score than the industry average of 76.2, Woolworths has the most satisfied customers with a score of 82.1 on the index.
This latest analytical report was conducted by Consulta based on the South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi). Consulta are well known for local industry research and use internationally accepted models to do their work.
The study also revealed that Woolworths is the only supermarket with a marked increase compared to its 2015 average of 80.7.
Checkers had a score of 77.2, while Pick N Pay checked in at 76.5. Both remained above average, while Shoprite and Spar trailed with scores of 75.5 and 75.2 respectively.
"In tough economic times, the price of goods is likely to influence consumers’ loyalty, even though they are satisfied customers," says CEO of Consulta, Professor Adré Schreuder. "But price-motivated ’loyalty’ is not permanent, so while customers may display less brand loyalty now, supermarkets cannot afford to stop investing in positive shopping experiences."
A related study by Nielsen showed that when selecting a supermarket, South African consumers are highly influenced by convenience of location (71%), speed (61%), high-quality fresh produce (71%) and product availability (68%) more so than price (56%) and promotions (56%), say the report.
"Woolworths has succeeded in providing high quality products, convenience and fast service while growing its footprint rapidly, including a growing presence in petrol station forecourts," Schreuder adds.
Supermarkets continuously look for ways to diversify themselves with some offering premium products or fresh deli goods, while others introduce customer loyalty programmes and till point promotions aimed at children.
"A shopping experience is determined by so many factors, and supermarkets need to demonstrate their ability to meet their ever-changing customer needs, consistently and reliably," says Schreuder. Woolworths, for many years has led the field in this.
On the JSE, Woolworths is one of the top 40 shares, and is traded well and enthusiastically by its shareholders.
Jeremy Woods trained for three years as a journalist on the Herts Advertiser, St Albans, in the U.K. Once qualified, he left England to work as a crime reporter on the Vancouver Sun in Canada. After three years, he worked for the Los Angeles Times as a trainee financial journalist, spending most of his time reading company accounts and finding publishable stories in them. He moved to South Africa and for the last five years in journalism worked for the Sunday Times, Business Times, as Investment Editor. He has also published a financial thriller called "Special Payments", which was a best-seller on publication, and optioned three times for a film.