“Grocery shopping is among the most common activities of the adult population,” reads the introduction to a new study. “Love it or hate it, we are often at the supermarket.”

When you put it that way, the act of gathering your groceries sounds like sheer drudgery. But the report actually finds the exact opposite – not only do many of us enjoy grocery shopping, but we expect our stores to make the experience more enjoyable. And a coupon-friendly attitude is one way that stores can turn a regular chore into something we might actually look forward to.

In short, the study determines – couponers and supermarket shoppers just want to have fun!

In its sixth annual U.S. Supermarket Experience study, the Retail Feedback Group found that things like cleanliness, variety, prices, freshness and friendliness are important to us when choosing a grocery store. Nothing surprising there. But their research “also illustrates the importance of a fun and exciting shopping environment.”

Fun? Exciting? We’re talking supermarkets here, right?

But “fun” is exactly how a lot of us describe grocery shopping. Only 9% of those surveyed said they dislike the experience, 26% were neutral, 34% enjoy it a little and 30% just love going to the grocery store. And those who enjoy grocery shopping, and have good experiences using coupons, end up spending more at their favored store, visiting more often, and recommending it to others.


So making the shopping experience fun is not to be taken lightly. “Fun”, it turns out, is good for business.

Among the stores that some respondents singled out as being “fun” is Wegmans. It “offers great sale prices, will double coupons (and) has a large variety of items with aisles big enough to get your cart down,” one shopper noted. Another mentioned CVS, which “has Extra Bucks promotions, emails coupons every Thursday, the price scanner prints out coupons if I scan my CVS card. Combining sales prices, CVS store coupons, manufacturer coupons, Extra Bucks earned on previous purchases all make hunting down deals fun.”

Still other shoppers mentioned stores like Trader Joe’s, which has “a variety of foods you don’t see anywhere else… the foods are healthy and tasty.” And Whole Foods Market was mentioned as the type of store where “there is assistance to be had when you need it, from knowledgeable, friendly associates. A clean store with bright colors and wide aisles. Plenty of inventory and a nice variety of items from which to choose.”

Read between the lines, though, and it seems “fun” means different things to different people. For some, the report notes, “a fun and exciting atmosphere automatically equates to an expensive store.” There’s a reason those with annual incomes of $125,000 and above were most likely to say they enjoyed grocery shopping “a lot” – 42%, as compared to 30% overall. When you can afford to shop at the nicest, cleanest, friendliest place in town, grocery shopping can indeed be “fun”, regardless of how much it costs.

For others, though, big savings are fun in themselves. “Getting a great deal, no matter what product, is the most exciting for me,” one shopper said.

That’s why the study cautions that retailers shouldn’t necessarily go all out to make their stores “fun”, by suddenly starting to give away free samples, hold cooking demonstrations, stock obscure new products and add sushi bars and wine tastings. That might be fun to some, but others might not be so amused when prices go up to help pay for all that frivolity. Fun is important, the study concludes, but when weighed against efficiency and affordability, fun gets pushed down the list of priorities. “Supermarkets must focus on the basics right alongside building an exciting shopping experience,” the researchers write.

And how do coupons and sales play into all this? Many of us find that saving money is what makes grocery shopping most fun. The study found that those who use coupons and take advantage of sales are more satisfied with their preferred store than most other shoppers, and a whopping 94% are more likely to recommend their favorite grocery store to others. Therefore, the report advises retailers, “encouraging the use of the grocery circular, an aggressive couponing strategy and in-store promotions will likely lead to more satisfied, loyal shoppers.”

More promotions, better sales and an “aggressive couponing strategy”? Now that sounds like fun.

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