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In dunnhumby's inaugural Retailer Preference Index (RPI) study, a comprehensive nationwide study, we explore the evolving US grocery landscape to help retailers navigate an increasingly fragmented market, where shoppers are, on average, shopping at four grocery stores per month and regularly buying groceries from at least three other channels. The study focuses on the following questions:

  • What drives preference?
  • Who is winning and losing?
  • Why are they winning or losing?
  • What can grocery retailers do to improve preference and performance?

Existing retailer rankings by Consumer Reports or Market Force only use survey data to capture how shoppers feel about the various banners without linking the emotion to financial performance. Others, like Supermarket News, rank banners based on financial metrics but fail to capture how people feel.


Our study is different because it quantifies the preference driver importance based on a combination of a banner's emotional connection and financial performance. The emotional connection was captured through a 15-minute online survey across 11,000 US households about how customers think and feel about 50+ US grocery retailers.

To learn more, download a free copy of the report. If your banner is in our report and you'd like your custom brief, contact us.


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Covid-19 has fundamentally changed shopping behaviour in a short space of time with shoppers visiting fewer stores less often, but leaving with bigger baskets. Ecommerce sales have near tripled, leaving some Retailers struggling to meet demand and cannibalising in-store margins. What's more, these changes are anything but transitional, with lockdowns and social distancing of some variety likely to dominate society for the foreseeable future, or until a vaccine is released.

With price sensitivity likely to resurface as a recession kicks in, continued disruption to supply chains, and a potential price war in the making as cash-rich retailers fight to retain newly acquired Shoppers and market share, the implications for CPGs and their retail partners are varied and potentially vast.

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In our third annual Retailer Preference Index (RPI) for the U.S. grocery channel, we look at the $700 billion grocery industry which finds itself potentially less than a year away from an economic downturn, according to many economists. Which grocers are best prepared to weather the storm, and what can other retailers do to compete? The RPI seeks to answer these and other questions, including:

  • What drives customer preference for grocery retailers?
  • Which retailers are winning and losing? And why?
  • What can grocery retailers do to improve performance and win more trips?

Existing ranking methods focus primarily on retail growth based on store counts and revenue size, without linking growth to emotional or financial performance. We have a different perspective, one that focuses on the consumer and their emotional connection to the various retailers within the grocery channel. Our study surveyed 7,500 US consumers to uncover how they think and feel about grocery stores, and how they shop them. All with a goal to understand how Customers perceive stores through seven different drivers, and how these perceptions affect both the emotional connection and financial performance.

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Data warehouse

Photo by Tobias Fischer on Unsplash

As disruption in the retail industry accelerates, more companies are turning to technology to keep up with new market entrants and changing consumer trends. But taking the focus off of Customer needs as the core driver of CRM strategy, retailers are missing opportunities for meaningful Customer interactions and profitable growth.

In this report, we'll take a closer look at the five big myths behind the trend of putting technology at the center of CRM strategies, revealing why a Customer First approach will help improve engagement with your Customers, which may just be the answer for ineffective tech solutions.


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Facing rising costs and shrinking margins, finding new revenue streams should be an urgent priority for grocery retailers the world over. Blessed with volumes of valuable customer data and a rich menu of owned media, this unbeatable combination provides enormous scope for creating sustainable growth. Yet so many grocery retailers are struggling to make this a reality.

To better understand why so many retailers aren't taking advantage of new revenue streams while improving the shopping experience for their customers, we commissioned a global study with Forrester Consulting. Download your complimentary copy of Forrester's research to learn about the barriers holding retailers back from revenue generation and the recommendations to overcome the challenges.

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The second annual dunnhumby Retailer Preference Index for the Convenience Channel explores the $654.3 billion US convenience market. The study focuses on:

  • What drives customer preference for convenience stores?
  • Which retailers are winning and losing? And why?
  • What can c-store retailers do to improve performance and win more trips?

Existing ranking methods focus primarily on retail growth based on store counts and revenue size, without linking growth to emotional or financial performance. We have a different perspective, one that focuses on the consumer and their emotional connection to the various retailers within the Convenience channel. Our study surveyed nearly 7,000 US consumers to uncover how they think and feel about c-stores, and how they shop them to understand how Customers perceive Quality, Convenience and Price, and how these perceptions affect both the emotional connection and financial performance.

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FOR RETAILERS

Smarter operations and sustainable growth, powered by Customer Data Science.

FOR BRANDS

Better understand and activate your Shoppers to grow sales.

In the first episode of Customer First Radio, Dave Clements, Global Head of Retail for dunnhumby and David Ciancio, Global Head of Grocery for dunnhumby kick off the series by discussing what it means to be a truly Customer First business, share which retailers and brands today embody a Customer First mindset, and examine how Customer First materialized during the pandemic with retailers.

black and silver headphones on black and silver microphone
Photo by Will Francis on Unsplash

The 2021 Retailer Preference Index: Who's winning and why. David Ciancio, Global Head of Grocery discusses the 2021 U.S Retailer Preference Index (RPI): Grocery Edition with the lead author of the RPI, Erich Kahner. They unveil key insights and discuss who is winning and who is best positioned for the future.

dunnhumby’s Prophets of Aisle Six, Episode 2: Heinen's Fine Foods

The Prophets of Aisle Six is the first online reality series focusing on innovation in the food retail industry. In this episode, Jose Gomes, dunnhumby's North America Managing Director, travels to the downtown Cleveland store of Heinen's Fine Foods. Jose meets with Tom and Jeff Heinen, co-owners and brothers, and learns how they are evolving their grandfather's mission of delivering excellent customer service. With 23 stores in Northeast Ohio and the greater Chicago area, and a 90-year legacy, Heinen's is proving that being a small retailer can be an advantage when it comes to data.

In this series, dunnhumby tours the globe and speaks with some of the world's greatest brands, exploring their biggest challenges and how they are using customer data science to meet those challenges.


In my last post, I posed five questions to retailers to help them determine whether they're ready for a customer-first mindset. Now, I'd like to challenge the retail basics that seasoned retailers were trained on, and suggest instead a new customer data science approach.

"Retail is detail" is common industry wisdom, and it means that achieving success is subtle and difficult. Success in any field demands practice and experience, and so it is little wonder that many senior retail and brand leaders and managers have vast years of involvement, and that most have grown up through the business in progressive steps.

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