WOODLAND, Calif. — Despite its upscale décor and vast specialty selection, Nugget Market's prices are lower than those at its competitors the majority of the time.
That's the finding of an informal “Price Survey” Nugget's associates and shoppers take each month.
Launched three years ago, the Price Survey consistently shows that with eight of 10 times, Nugget's prices are lower than those at Safeway, Raley's, Bel Air Markets and Save Mart, according to Kate Stille, Nugget's marketing director.
Because of Nugget's high-end look and large assortment of natural, organic, gluten-free and other specialty foods, people initially think the retailer's prices must be higher than conventional stores, said Stille. The goal of the price survey is to dispel that misconception, she said.
“The Price Survey is a valuable way to clarify where we stand in the market when it comes to pricing,” Stille told SN.
Nugget keeps prices low, in part, by buying by the truckload and passing on the savings to shoppers, and operating on lower margins, according to Stille.
To participate in the survey, shoppers and associates list the 25 items they most commonly purchase, their Universal Product Codes and prices. They then visit one of the four competing supermarkets to document their pricing on the same items.
While Nugget officials scour weekly ads to ensure its prices are competitive, the Price Survey helps confirm its low-price positioning.
“We want our guests to see for themselves,” Stille said.
All those who take the survey are entered into a monthly contest to win a $1,000 Nugget gift card. Price Survey forms are available in-store and online at nuggetmarket.com.
About 50 to 75 surveys are completed monthly.
Nugget hangs a large in-store board to document how many times each month its stores had the lowest prices.
Nugget promotes the survey on its website, Facebook page and Twitter account, and in weekly ads.
The chain runs the Price Survey in its nine Nugget-banner stores. Nugget also operates three Food 4 Less discount stores, but has not used the survey for that banner.
Though the survey has been in use for years at Nugget, price comparing is gaining momentum in the food industry.
Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif., for instance, is testing a new discount program that matches the competition's lowest prices. “Deal Match,” running exclusively in Oahu, Hawaii, gives loyalty card holders the same prices Foodland/Sack N Save and Times Supermarkets advertise on dozens of frequently purchased items.
Shoppers can get the savings by registering at the “Deal Match” section of Safeway.com, and uploading offers to their loyalty cards. When the item is purchased, the price will match what Times and/or Foodland advertised.
Once a Deal Match item is purchased, the savings is highlighted at the bottom of the customer's receipt.
In-store shelf tags highlight all participating items.