Kwik Trip & Wawa Top Dunnhumby Retailer Preference Index

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Kwik Trip & Wawa Top Dunnhumby Retailer Preference Index

dunnhumby Retailer Preference Index

CHICAGO — When it comes to food, Kwik Trip Inc. and Wawa Inc. are at the top of their game, according to the latest dunnhumby nationwide study.

The dunnhumby Retailer Preference Index (RPI) found that Kwik Trip and Wawa, alongside QuikTrip Corp., ranked in the top three for food in the $291-billion U.S. convenience, dollar and drug channels.

Rounding out the remaining top 10 are: Speedway LLC, CVS Pharmacy, Sheetz Inc., Cumberland Farms Inc., Walgreens, Dollar Tree and Turkey Hill, respectively.

RPI surveyed 5,500 U.S. households focusing on three food channels, including convenience, dollar and drug, and then analyzed consumer emotional sentiment and preference for 37 of the largest retailers.

"Consumers today are starved for time and as a result are making more quick food shopping trips to convenience, dollar and drug stores," said Jose Gomes, president of North America, dunnhumby. "The goal of our study is to understand macro trends in the convenience space, and to provide retailers with a benchmark for how they are performing on the different drivers of consumer preference.

"The data enables us to drill down into a specific retailer and identify their high-level strengths and weaknesses. Matching this up with industry opportunities and threats — such as digital, health or competitive trends — we can begin to diagnose a retailer’s key issues and opportunities,: he added. "With a clear diagnosis, it is possible to shape a customer strategy that focuses the organization’s attention and resources on those areas of the business that will drive return trips and improve performance."

According to RPI, there are six drivers of customer preference: convenience, price, quality, meal destinations, discounts and rewards, and digital.

"We believe that our focus in this RPI on how customers perceive convenience, prices, and quality and how these perceptions affect both the level of the emotional connection and the customer’s preference intensity is critical for understanding why some retailers excel while others fall behind," said Gomes. "By building loyalty and preference with customers, convenience retailers can improve the performance of existing stores rather than having to continually build top line sales through acquisition, which could be more challenging moving forward because of higher interest rates and the rise of digital and alternative food channels."

RPI found that convenience plays a much bigger role in customer preference than price and quality. Convenient locations, hours of operation and speed play a big role in store preference.

Additionally, quality-focused regional retailers such as Kwik Trip, Wawa and Quik Trip have stronger connections and customer preference compared to the larger retailers with higher store counts.

Other key findings of the study include:

  • Retailers ranked higher in the RPI also tend to have a lower proportion of franchisees/licensees than retailers ranked lower. On average, retailers in the top half of the ranking are 7 percent franchised vs. 48 percent of retailers in the bottom half who are franchised.  
  • C-stores stand out from the drug and dollar channels in their strength in meal destination and their weakness in price.
  • Drug stores are stronger in quality, rewards and digital compared to c-stores and dollar stores.
  • Dollar stores are strongest in price, but are weaker than c-stores and drug stores in quality and convenience.
  • Six in 10 c-store customers shop dollar stores and drug stores at least three times a month.
  • 50 percent of dollar store customers shop the other two channels regularly.
  • 50 percent of drug store customers cross-shop the other two channels.

The latest dunnhumby RPI is available for download here.