Mystery Shoppers Find 2 Out of 3 Supermarkets ‘Mediocre’ or Worse

Mystery shoppers reported that two of every three supermarkets they visited were “mediocre” or worse in a national customer experience supermarket study conducted by BARE International.

"Our goal was to conduct a benchmarking study so we could give our [grocery store] clients guidance on how their stores ranked vis-à-vis their competitors in particular and the industry overall," said BARE President Michael L. Bare. "The results surprised us."

According to Bare, the company randomly selected 26 U.S. supermarkets, some units of large chains and others locally owned, for evaluation this past February. "Anything less than a 90 percent score indicates a mediocre consumer experience," he explained, adding that 62 percent of the facilities visited scored under 90 percent, with 53 percent earning a score of 85 percent or lower, and 19 percent scoring under 75 percent.

"The fact that nearly 20 percent of all the participants scored below 75 percent is shocking, especially so because many of those in the bottom 20 percent are part of large, well-known chains," noted Bare. "This shows us that the typical supermarket experience is not one that excites or even pleases consumers."

The study's mystery shoppers inspected five departments in each supermarket: deli, bakery, meat, produce and prepared foods. They additionally rated such other experience factors as customer service, store cleanliness, and the appearance and conduct of staff.

With nine offices across North America, South America, Europe and Asia, Fairfax, Va.-based BARE is a global leader in mystery shopping and customer experience research.

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