Let’s get one thing straight: there is a LOT of competition out there in today’s marketplace. For retailers, it’s tougher than ever to compete against discount stores. Customers are looking for the best deal, and, sometimes, are willing to sacrifice quality for quantity. While this hasn’t traditionally been the case for fresh foods, now more than ever customers are buying fresh foods at discount stores.
So how do you differentiate yourself from discount stores and retain customer loyalty? A recent McKinsey & Company study was conducted to find out. The end result: quality counts. In fact, according to the study, fresh-food quality is the number-one driver of satisfaction.
Quality is judged by more than just how a product tastes or what it looks like. According to McKinsey & Company, consumers also look at internal and external factors like smell, consistency, ripeness, packaging, pricing, and advertising to define quality. With so many traits to consider, it’s no wonder that retailers are struggling to keep up with competition from discount store prices.
Take meat, for example. In the fight to stay credible in the competitive market, it’s essential to showcase the quality of your fresh meat. One European grocery chain gave more than 8,000 households a survey to figure out what 50 fresh foods left the biggest impression. Chicken filets and minced meat were two big indicators of store quality. Consumers like to be able to see and feel their meat to test for quality, making packaging investments crucial to establish worth over discount-store meat. Packaging solutions like second-skin films allow customers to see every curve and aspect of the meat and feel the quality in person. That’s what will make them come back for more.
From meat to produce, McKinsey & Company suggests a three step approach to establishing quality in fresh food selection:
Conduct consumer research
Finding out what matters to your customer with an in-depth survey will help you emphasize what makes your products higher in quality than those from discount stores. That way you can discover exactly what your target consumer is looking for in your fresh-food selection.
Figure out the reason for quality problems
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way around this one – it just takes time. But, by following the right steps and doing thorough research, it will pay off big time in the end. Analyzing the results of your consumer research surveys can help your company find the biggest problems in quality perception and establish a new plan to improve that perception. While it can seem like a big investment in time and resources, it can greatly increase sales and customer loyalty.
Create a quality-focused culture within your organization
Rome wasn’t built in a day. And neither is a quality-centric organization culture. When creating a quality-focused organization, it has to start from the top-down. Management has to show a high level of care to encourage employees to do the same. This means a more engaged staff, pride in brand products, and a better financial return. Now that’s productivity.
Competition is here to stay. But that doesn’t mean discount stores are taking over. By focusing on product quality and ensuring customers are able to physically see, feel, and know that the fresh-foods your store is offering are of a higher caliber than those offered at discount stores, you will win the food retailer battle.