Shoppers are appreciative of technological advances that speed the checkout process, but they have yet to be sold on the idea of regularly using credit or debit cards to pay for purchases.
These were among the findings of an exclusive national study of 1,000 consumers conducted for SN by America's Research Group, Charleston, S.C.
The survey questioned shoppers on a wide variety of supermarket products and operations. More than nine out of 10 of those surveyed reported they were satisfied with the accuracy of pricing at the checkout.
"Shoppers overwhelmingly like scanning operations," said Britt Beemer, founder and chairman of America's Research Group.
This strong opinion was mirrored in responses to another question concerning consumer satisfaction with the speed of checkouts. Only 13.7% were dissatisfied with checkout speed, while 86.3% said they were happy with the current speed of checkout operations.
And, though they are already pleased with checkout efficiency, shoppers look for it to get even better. More than eight in 10 of those surveyed predicted checkout service would improve in the coming year, while only 12.4% thought it would get worse.
Shoppers have yet to become
regular users of credit or debit cards to pay for supermarket purchases at the checkout counter. More than eight in 10 of those surveyed said they never use these cards, while 10.3% reported they use the cards sometimes.
Only 7.1% of shoppers indicated they used credit or debit cards frequently to pay for groceries and other purchases.
Consumers are not inclined to change their current method of payment, the survey found. Only 11.7% predicted they would use credit or debit cards more during the coming year, while 87.5% do not plan to charge more purchases.
Fewer than 20% of those surveyed said their favorite supermarket currently offers a card-based frequent shopper program.
However, shoppers who have been exposed to such programs have a very high regard for the frequent shopper concept. "Consumers who are familiar with the frequent buyer program absolutely love it," Beemer said, reporting a 96.3% satisfaction level among those using the program.
"The verdict is out, however," he said, "as to whether they are more loyal to the stores offering the frequent buyer program."
Those using the program were divided nearly equally when asked if the program made them more loyal to the supermarket offering it.
Frequent shopper programs influence customers' buying decisions somewhat: nearly six in 10 shoppers surveyed said the program did affect their buying specific products, while the remaining four in 10 disagreed.
Safety is a concern of one in eight supermarket shoppers today, while 87.5% say they feel safe shopping their favorite stores.
Of those who report feeling uneasy, 37.6% say they may change shopping patterns or even the stores they shop because of their safety concerns.
One in five consumers reported the availability of home shopping or home delivery of supermarket products where they live.
Of those who knew the service was offered, an overwhelming majority -- 93.1% -- said they do not take advantage of such services, with more than two-thirds having no plans to use delivery or home shopping in the future. Of those who had used the service, twice as many were satisfied with it as were displeased.