Why no single supermarket can have a monopoly of the best food quality
Diverse product quality in supermarkets does not result in a monopoly
The question that refers to which supermarket offers the best food quality is an issue of major concern for shoppers all over the world.
Personally, when I visit a supermarket to do my daily, weekly, or monthly shopping, I would like to have access to products of genuinely good quality, at the right price, and I believe that the same applies to any shopper.
However, when I read articles where grocers are rated as best or worst, I have my own doubts about these ratings, because I believe that there is not any single grocer or supermarket that can get it right every time, i.e. tick all the boxes when it comes to product quality, since it is inevitable that some grocers are good in certain product ranges, while others excel in different lines of products.
The concept of retail mix
The marketing strategy that is implemented by supermarket chains is strongly focused on what is called the “retail mix”.
A specific component of the retail mix is the product, which is the cornerstone of the commercial success of any retailer.
If the quality and specifications of the product fail to meet customer expectations, it will be very difficult for all of the other components of the retail mix, i.e. price, place, promotion, presentation, and personnel to make up for the lack of quality.
Although it could be argued that price is a strong factor that could influence a shopper’s decision to buy a product, in spite of its inferior quality, I don’t believe that a low-price strategy can be followed profitably by a retailer in the long run, unless there are other areas where profits can be made or costs can be cut, which can offset losses as a result of applying a low-price policy.
Failure to get the right product
Supermarket chains rely on their suppliers, and vice versa, and when they discover a product of high quality that can be supplied to them at a fair price and trade terms, they do their best to get that product on their shelves.
In this way, they can increase their chances to have their customers satisfied, and make a profit in the short, as well as in the long run.
On the other hand, when procurement managers of supermarket chain fail to identify such a product, due to the fact that, currently, there is no such product available in the market, or a rival supermarket chain has been there first, and managed to close an exclusive distribution deal with suppliers, customers will not find what they want in that particular supermarket.
This can serve as reason even for regular and loyal customers to turn to competitors that may have this specific, or a very similar, product on their shelves, no matter how convenient it is for those customers to shop at their regular grocer. In this case, the factor of shopping convenience may play a secondary role and not affect shoppers in their decision to shop other products from that grocer, as well.
Product mix: An assortment of products of different quality
Due to the fact that supermarkets use a product mix that consists of items of highly diverse quality, which are provided by various suppliers and cater for different consumer tastes and needs, it is inevitable for them to fail to get everything right all the time.
For example, one supermarket may sell an excellent cheese brand and find hard to keep up with demand for that cheese, and also a wine brand that is hard to sell due to poor quality.
The size, market power, and financial resources that are available to each supermarket chain are key competitive advantages that can help it to ensure access to suppliers of premium quality products, ahead of its competitors.
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