"Those are the basics," Eden-Harris said. "You better offer them to me or I'm not even going to go into your store."
To stand out from the crowd and steal customers from the competition, a chain must provide what Eden-Harris calls "operations-related attributes." These include fast check-outs, friendly staff and cleanliness, as well as good private-label brands and outstanding meat and produce.
The winners for operational excellence:
Whole Foods was the clear winner for high-quality meat and produce, and natural and organic choices
Trader Joe's ranked first for atmosphere, quick checkout and private-label brands, second for cleanliness and natural/organic choices
Publix was tops for cleanliness and courteous staff, and second for high-quality produce
Costco came in second for high-quality meat
Many grocery chains are regional, so Market Force broke out its results into four U.S. regions and Canada. Shoppers were asked where they had spent the majority of their grocery dollars in the past 30 days. Because Wal-Mart dominates the country, it was omitted from the regional analysis.
Northeast: Stop & Shop (11 percent,) GIANT (6 percent,) Wegmans and Market Basket (tied at 5 percent)
South: Kroger (16 percent,) Publix (15 percent) and H-E-B (5 percent)
Midwest: Kroger (11 percent,) Meijer (9 percent) and Hy-Vee (8 percent)
West: Safeway (12 percent,) Kroger (9 percent) and Costco (7 percent)
Canada: Loblaws (15 percent,) Sobeys (11 percent,) Costco and Safeway (tied at 7 percent)
(Read: full report for more specifics on how chains rated)
Better be on your game if you want my business
The average shopper goes to the supermarket about twice a week and doesn't want to waste time while there.
The Market Force survey makes it clear people don't like to wait in line at checkout and get frustrated when they can't find the products they want.
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If they're not happy, if they aren't treated the way they expect, they'll take their business elsewhere.
"There's more focus on service quality and the customer experience these days because you can only compete strictly on price and selection for so long," said Andrew Baker, a marketing professor at San Diego State University.
And if your experience is pleasant, he said, the inconvenience of going to the store becomes more tolerable.
"As a result, you may spend more time perusing the aisles, and that means there's more opportunity to stray from your shopping list and purchase additional products," Baker said.
So what happened to extreme couponing?
The shoppers in this survey—60 percent of whom had a household income of more than $50,000—said they're not using coupons or promotional offers as much as they did last year. And the drop is significant.
Fewer people are using newspaper or online coupons, or even coupons given out by the store. Slightly more than 20 percent said they had not used a coupon at the grocery store in the past 30 days. That's up from about 15 percent in 2011.
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Janet Eden-Harris told me she was "really surprised" by the continued drop in coupon use.