Certainly, collecting coupons or participating in a grocery store’s loyalty program can reduce your bills. But that savings comes at a price, and you have to factor it in when you’re comparing rates.
“Price remains key, but price alone is no longer enough to win by itself,” says Frank Kroger, a vice president for shopper marketing at Valassis, a Livonia, Mich., marketing company.
Shoppers say their definition of value has changed to include price as well as customer service, convenience and added services, such as online ordering and curbside pickup, he notes.
Kroger’s advice? “Look at the overall value of their shopping experience. Is it saving you money, or is it saving time or angst?”
Indeed, that is increasingly how grocery shoppers define “competitive.” It’s a big-picture definition that includes price, convenience and experience.
“Consumers are really demanding a retail experience but also want price and convenience,” says Keith Daniels, a partner at Carl Marks Advisors, an investment banking firm.
In other words, you’re probably better off not obsessing over why a gallon of milk costs 5 cents less at the other supermarket, and focusing on the fact that your preferred grocery store is closer, has the items you want and offers friendly service.
True, your bills are rising, but only because it’s that time of year. If you’re like most Americans, you’ll probably overspend for groceries this Thanksgiving (oh, and don’t forget the other holidays coming up), but add it all up, and you probably didn’t get ripped off. And you can take the FTC’s word for it.