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Happier Shoppers, Higher Spending: The Value of Loyalty in Grocery

Turning customers into loyal advocates can add more than $60 to their carts and boost their share of wallet.

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Happier Shoppers, Higher Spending: The Value of Loyalty in Grocery
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In US grocery, a select few have become customer loyalty powerhouses. H-E-B, Costco, Wegmans, Aldi, and Trader Joe’s all have a Net Promoter Score℠—a measure of customers’ likelihood to recommend a store or brand—nearly double the industry average (see Figure 1).

Notably, this is a best-of-breed list. No one type of grocer, such as a warehouse club or discount supermarket, consistently outperforms the rest. So what sets these household names apart? While each of the five grocers has its own winning formula, there's one common thread: They delight customers better than others, in ways unique to their value propositions.

For example, according to Bain’s NPS Prism® benchmarking platform, Texas’s regional gem H-E-B has a superior online shopping experience, beating out other supermarkets on parts of the customer journey like “online checkout,” “modify my order,” and “address a problem.” Trader Joe’s excels on the in-store experience, winning over shoppers in episodes ranging from “browse and select” to “checkout” to “make a return.”

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Why does winning on customer experience matter? Loyalty leadership is a predictor of future success. Promoters, a company’s biggest fans, purchase more frequently than other shoppers. They also spend much more—an average of $132 per month. In comparison, detractors, or customers who give the company low ratings, spend an average of $71 per month. Promoters are also more loyal. At a typical grocer, promoters dedicate 35% of their grocery spending, while detractors spend only 20% of their wallet (see Figure 2).

In addition, these loyal shoppers are more vocal, actively recommending their grocer to others. The customers of the top five loyalty leaders give nearly three times as many positive referrals as customers of a competitor with a low Net Promoter Score (see Figure 3). Grocers that invest in turning customers into these vocal, loyal, high-spending advocates will see their efforts reflected in their bottom lines.


Net Promoter®, NPS®, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld. Net Promoter Score℠ and Net Promoter System℠ are service marks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

NPS Prism® is a registered trademark of Bain & Company, Inc.

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