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It is not surprising that some shoppers are looking to for alternative channels for their food and groceries in an attempt to make savings. Although the Big Four supermarkets remain the most popular channels, alternative channels such as Amazon Groceries aim to tempt shoppers away from their usual supermarket choice. The internet has allowed for the emergence of sites offering bulk and discount groceries without the need for physical stores, thus keeping costs low. Bulk discount stores such as Makro and Costco provide shoppers with not only the opportunity to buy essential in bulk, but also products that they can’t get in standard supermarkets. They also work as a form of entertainment, with many shoppers seeing them as a trip out, where they can take their families, have a browse and have lunch. This report will provide a holistic view on where shoppers go, how frequently and most importantly why they choose this channel to fulfil their shopping needs.
This section of our channel series investigates shopper perceptions, attitudes and behaviours in relation to Large Supermarkets. Large Supermarkets are the most frequented of all the channels and continue to dominate the Food & Grocery market; our in-depth research explores a multitude of themes in this area. The Large Supermarket report will cover channel penetration, spend by mission, primary store (including how shoppers define primary store), shopper share, drivers to store, barriers to purchase (by category) and overall perceptions of the different retailers (Quality, Price, Range and Value).
The latest Food and Grocery Shopper opinion
I recently went on an expedition to Costco in the name of research; the aim was to get a sense of who shops there, the overall shopping experience, the Price/Value for money and the range of products on offer.
On arrival it was not what I expected, I was transported into what felt like the Narnia of shopping, with floor to ceiling stacks of everything from Chocolate Bars to Hot Tubs (my kind of research!).
What I didn’t expect was the surprising amount of ‘regular’ families shopping for everyday household items; I thought it would be predominantly shopkeepers, restaurant owners, et al. As I toured the warehouse I decided it would be best to make a few purchases to really get the full experience.
I bought: 24 x Flake (guilty pleasure), 10kg box of Persil Washing Powder, 12 x Dolmio Pasta Sauce, 1 car wash kit (bargain) and 3 x Carex Hand Wash (ran out).
It was enjoyable browsing the wide range of products that aren’t usually available in stores that I frequent, particularly the foreign products. The issue with foreign products is that I have no idea whether they are good value or not. I felt myself falling into the ‘bulk-buying is cheaper’ trap; everything appeared to be such a bargain, but is it really?
Carrying on my research in the café, I compared the price of the Carex I had bought (online), only to find the exact same SKU (in singles) on promotion at two different supermarkets… for less than what I had paid.
Bulk buying is a catalyst in unnecessary consumption, despite being a single shopper I buy larger pack sizes as they are often better value, why buy half a cucumber when it is not half of the price? However, in real terms is it better value when consumption may take a number of months (opportunity cost) not better value when such vast quantities aren’t needed, manifesting as either waste or over usage (in expandable categories). Buy more, spend more, consume more (Flake anyone?).
I cast my mind back to the ‘regular’ families I saw earlier and wondered whether they were truly saving any money. Perhaps they made the same mistake as I, blindly believing that buying in bulk means getting a better deal than buying smaller quantities.
On the other hand, these families could have mastered the art of multi-channel shopping, stocking up on non-expandable categories like Washing Powder, there are big savings to be made on categories like Washing Powder, where the number of laundry washes one might do per week is finite. In summary bigger is not always better.
On a supplementary note my advice would be… If you don’t have a car, don’t buy 10kg of Washing Powder.
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