Buyers have named Amazon, Costco Wholesale, Walmart, Publix and Kroger as the best retailers in terms of responding to the coronavirus pandemic, according to market research firm Magid.
Amazon leads all food retailers, with 30% more customers saying they are more in favor of the online retail giant’s COVID-19 response than those who feel less favorable to its efforts, the Magid Food & Beverage Consumer Insights Tracker from May 2020, which interviewed 1,000 buyers. The only other retailers with a more favorable differential of at least 20% were Costco (+ 25%), Walmart (+ 22%), Publix (+ 21%) and Kroger (+ 21%).
Five other retailers had a more favorable differential of 19% for their measures against coronaviruses, including the BJ’s Wholesale Club, Meijer, Whole Foods Market, Target and Trader Joe’s.
Respondents in Magid’s latest tracker, who were interviewed in early May, were asked about how well retailers selling groceries and / or household goods are adapting to higher demand, more stores busy and health problems since the COVID-19 epidemic.
Forty-one percent gave retailers overall solid marks for their response, with 13% saying that the retailers have “done extremely well” and 28% said they have “done very well”. Another 44% of buyers said that retailers have adapted “fairly well” to the crisis, while a small minority disapproved of their response, 12% saying that retailers have adapted “not well” and 3% saying that their response was “not good at all”. All of these percentages were pretty much the same as in Magid’s April tracker.
In percentage terms, the top 10 retailers whose consumers answered COVID-19 felt “more favorable” were Amazon (41%), HEB (38%), Costco (36%), Hy-Vee (35%), Walmart ( 35%), BJ’s (33%), Publix (32%), Meijer (31%), Kroger (30%) and Aldi (29%).
“These retailers put the health and safety of their buyers first and do their best to keep the items in stock. They have effectively managed the busiest shopping hours in stores, often designating special shopping hours for seniors, and have limited the number of people who can be in a store at one time, “said Steven Flynn, vice -Senior president of consumer and commercial brands at Magid.
Among those surveyed in the Magid’s May tracker, 28% said they were shopping at one or more new retailers to buy food, drink and other supplies. The main reasons were lack of supplies / product availability (32%), one-stop shopping (27%), location (23%), limits on the number of buyers in the store (22%), limits purchase of certain items (20%) and reduced hours (18%).
Interestingly, 18% said they had changed retailers due to a preference to support small / local retailers at the time, while 17% cited price increases on food and supplies that are in high demand. Fifteen percent said their favorite retailer was not taking necessary safety precautions during the pandemic, and the same percentage said there were no special shopping hours for seniors and the elderly risk.
Online shopping also played a role. Sixteen percent cited free online grocery delivery to get them to another retailer, and 14% cited in-store pickup.
Overall, 45% of respondents said they are buying more online now than before the coronavirus outbreak, compared to 38% in the April tracker, Magid reported. Fifty-four percent pointed to the possibility of checking product availability as an attribute when purchasing online.
Social distancing is also a key reason for online shopping, with 37% stating that they don’t need to touch anything and 33% stating that there is no face-to-face interaction.
Of those who have visited new retailers since the epidemic, 69% said the experience was better or the same. Sam’s Club (61%), Meijer (54%), Costco (49%), Target (47%), BJ’s (45%), Amazon (42%), Trader Joe’s (42%), Walgreens (42%), Dollar Tree (40%) and Albertsons (39%).
Sixty percent said they would likely continue to shop at the new retailer after the pandemic, led by Albertsons (89%), Sam’s Club (82%), Trader Joe’s (79%), Costco (71) ended %), Meijer (69%), Target (67%), CVS (67%), Amazon (65%) and Walgreens (65%). BJ’s, Dollar Tree, Kroger and H-E-B were all cited by 60% of the respondents as new retailers where they will likely continue to shop.
“In the first wave of our study, we found that much of the transition between retailers was due to a lack of supply / availability of products,” said Flynn. “However, we are now finding that these consumers are staying with these retailers because they are finding that they have a better experience in these stores and that they can get everything they need in one place. Other factors are that some buyers are looking to save money due to changes in the economy or are interested in trying new products and brands for fun while they are looking to break through the foreclosure. “
And more and more consumers expect grocery and household goods purchases to take longer to return to normal. Twenty percent of those interviewed by Magid now expect this process to take five to six months, as in the April tracker. But in the May poll, 9% said they thought it would take seven to nine months (compared to 8% in April), 10% predicted 10 to 12 months (compared to 7% in April), and 14% planned more than a year. (against 4% in April). Currently, the highest percentage of buyers surveyed – 22% – expects to return to normal in three to four months, although this is down from 32% in April.
Magid discovered that health and safety practices are at the top of consumers’ concerns in terms of what retailers need to do to gain customer trust and continue shopping with them. Among the actions that retailers can take, the most cited was to have hygienic wipes or a hygiene kit for buyers at the front of the store (66%), followed by a hygienic mist to clean the trolleys (65%), requiring face masks on all customers (62%), automatic door opening (60%), seeing associates cleaning stores at all times (60%), limiting the capacity of buyers in stores ( 58%), employee temperature control (57%), transparency of employee policies (57%), contactless payment options (55%), protective gloves for buyers or requiring their use (52%) ), UV cleaning for groceries at checkout (52%) and curbside pickup (51%).
“Retailers must place a strong emphasis on appropriate health and safety measures to win back consumers,” said Flynn. “We have found that using hygienic wipes and frequent use of hygienic mists on shopping carts are the main steps that retailers can take to regain consumer confidence and encourage them to return to their stores.” In addition, consumers would like self-service and curbside pickup to continue, as it gives them the freedom to choose whether they want to interact with employees or not. “