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Ride in the Shopping Cart

There are those who see grocery shopping as a chore, who head to the nearest supermarket, grab what they need and get out. Others watch the sales and clip coupons in order to get the best deals. Still others go to greater lengths. Have you ever prepared multiple shopping lists, organized multiple sets of coupons and shopped at multiple stores – all in the same day?

Heck, you may even do that regularly.

What may appear to some to be borderline obsessive, is common practice for many. A new survey suggests that if you shop at several different stores in search of the best deals on a single outing, you’re not crazy – and you’re not alone.

ClickIQ’s new “Grocery Cross-Shopper Behavior Study” surveyed more than 1,200 grocery shoppers who identified themselves as “cross-shoppers”. They’re not loyal to any one store, instead buying their groceries at any of a number of different outlets.

And the majority say they’ve been known to shop for groceries at different stores on the same day. Two-thirds of cross-shoppers say they’ve done so in the past month. Sometimes it’s out of necessity, if one store is out of something or doesn’t carry a preferred product that another store does. But most say they cross-shop in order to get the best deals.

Not surprisingly, cross-shoppers tend to be savvy shoppers. Three-quarters prepare a written list before shopping – even writing different lists for different stores, if they plan to shop at multiple stores. And more than half gather coupons and look over the stores’ sale ads before shopping.

But some might argue the savviest shoppers don’t need to cross-shop at all. By building a stockpile and watching the sales cycles, you can often get what you need at your favorite store without having to chase deals all over town. Even so, some deals may just be too good to pass up.

What’s the motivation for all this cross-shopping? Price, of course. A full 89% of cross-shoppers say everyday low prices are “very” or “extremely” important in deciding what store to shop at during any particular shopping trip. Loyalty to a favorite store may only go so far, if another store has what you need for less. Nearly two-thirds say low prices and sales are the most important factor of all. Coupons matter, too – it’s important for a store to be coupon-friendly, according to 57% of respondents.

Even the biggest deal-seekers have their limits, though. Many shoppers surveyed won’t necessarily lower their standards just to get a deal. The vast majority say it’s important for a store to be clean, convenient and friendly in order to get their business – no matter how good the store’s prices are.

That being the case, less than half of respondents named Walmart as the store they shop most often for groceries. But 60% end up there at some point. “Cross-shoppers who shop Walmart love the low prices,” the report concludes, “but seek higher quality/freshness (especially on fresh produce and meat), as well as better selection and convenience, at other grocery retailers.”

So, as those who compete with Walmart often claim, price isn’t everything – but then it certainly ranks right up there. Just as long as you don’t spend all your savings on the gas it will take to get to all these stores in the first place.

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