Thursday 6 September 2012

Supermarkets eroding their brand equity?

Almost three-quarters of consumers believe supermarkets are trying to mislead them with confusing pricing practices, Which? has found.

Their survey of 2,100 shoppers revealed that 74 per cent think supermarkets are trying to dupe them.
Current legislation requires retailers to provide both a selling price and a unit price for products, but a spot-check of branches of each of the 10 leading supermarkets found none met the watchdog's best practice criteria developed with Trading Standards and the Royal National Institute of Blind People for size and legibility of unit pricing.

Deliberate or not?
The key issue is whether retailers are doing it deliberately, in which case nothing will change…
However, if retailers want true like-with-like comparison they need simplify the process for shoppers….

Making price comparison easier
Expressing the shelf-price per 100g/100ml along with the SKU price would surely add clarity to the (deliberate?) confusion caused by random use of Kg/g in shelf-label unit pricing, BOGOFs, extra-value packs, products sold in ‘standard packs & loose’ and especially the use of shrinking-packs to disguise price-rises….

Instead, stores routinely sell fresh fruit and vegetables in standard packs for a fixed price without providing a clear price comparison with the same items sold loose.

Call for legal enforcement
Consumer champions Which? are calling for a change in the law that would require retailers to provide clear unit prices, including shelf labels in large print against a clear background, showing a price based on a standard formula such as pence per item.

Morrisons Act first 
A week ago we advocated this approach in KamBlog
Now Morrisons have announced it will introduce standard large labels showing the unit price and price per kilo or per litre across all its products by the end of next year. A pity if other retailers wait that long to follow suit…

Evaluating the real brand of supplier or retailer
Shoppers use price as the final ‘decider’, but we should remember that this is on the assumption  that all other things are equal. In other words, by making it clear what the shopper is getting for the money, the ‘per 100’ comparison forces the brand to rely upon Performance, Presentation and Place in a like-with-like Price evaluation with the available competition, causing the shopper-consumer to fall back on the brand equity we have taken so much trouble to build and sustain over the years.

In the old days it used to be called trust…the most precious commodity in any business!

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