It turns out that many people aren't fond of their grocery stores. According to a new survey from IBM, three quarters of shoppers are either antagonistic or have no loyalty toward their grocers.
I can't say I'm surprised. When I ran into a coworker recently at Whole Foods, the first thing we did was to complain about it. I said the lines were crazy; he said it was too expensive.
It's not that it was the store's fault. In IBM's survey, Whole Foods had one of the highest percentages of so-called advocates, at around 41 percent. In general, I consider myself one of them; I'm a big fan of the extensive cheese selections for special occasions. But it's hard to get around the fact that shopping for groceries is a chore. When we're taking time out of the weekend to load up on basic essentials like milk and bread, we're in the mood to complain. (Or at least I am.)
According to Fred Balboni, a global retail industry leader at IBM, it is possible to turn disgruntled customers into happier campers. The key, he found, is to offer high-quality products, an appealing range of merchandise (such as specialty olive oil for the customers who want it), convenience, and customer service. Shoppers want to enjoy their experience, he says.
I think that might have as much to do with the shopper as with the shop.