One of the main changes that have been documented recently in the way we shop is the switch people are making away from the big supermarkets to shopping in discount supermarkets such as Aldi, Lidl and Netto instead.
Over the past few years I have started to shop more and more in the discount stores. This is because of the great deals that you can find there. And great deals means, great savings. Just recently however, the leading supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda seem to be fighting back. So are they doing enough to win us back?
The reason that the discount stores have been doing well and gaining so many more customers over the past few years is that people have had to look for cheaper ways to shop. When you have finished your big weekly food shop and hear the total amount to be paid, the difference in price compared to what you have been spending at a leading supermarket can be a real (but very much welcomed) surprise.
I remember when I first started shopping at my local discount shop and feeling amazed at the prices, I just couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that I could buy a bag of fusilli pasta for 42p, a box of plums for 69p and proper dairy farm butter for a measly 92 pence! I was a very happy customer. 🙂
Not only do these stores have great prices on all of our basics, but they are a great place to pick up limited time deals. They tend to swap the products and deals every few weeks and they are always seasonal so you can be sure to come across some great products that you have been looking for at a great price.
You might know from some of my other posts that I do like to shop around. I love that satisfied feeling that I am making the most of what is available to me. I’ll nip into my local discount store to pick up what I can from there and then whatever I still need I just head over to one of the bigger supermarkets for. Recently however I have noticed some big price cuts in the leading supermarkets, for example: a loaf of bread for 75p, 4 pints of milk for 89p and butter for 92p.
So why are the big supermarkets making these price cuts? Is it to win back the customers that they have lost to the discount supermarkets? If so, will the new prices sway you to shop exclusively in their stores again? And can they keep up the discounts?
Of course the main reason we choose to shop in a particular place is because of the products and the prices on offer to us. But there is another aspect that shouldn’t be forgotten about and that is the shopping experience. As much I like a bargain, I must admit that the lack of space in the discount stores does affect my experience there. I don’t like having to climb around people (including the staff) to get to the items that I want. Also the wider aisles in a larger store help you to comfortably shop with children. If I am being totally honest, I’ll admit that if I have to take the kids with me to the supermarket and I know that the shops will be busy, I won’t take them into the discount shop because I know that as soon as I walk through the doors we will be seriously stuck for room and I don’t find it an enjoyable experience with 2 young boys.
Another point in the shopping experience that I feel is important is having the option to use a self-service checkout. I know that these are a relatively recent thing that has been added to most of the leading supermarkets, but I have quickly become a great fan of them. I like the fact that I don’t have to stand in a huge queue if I don’t want to, and my boys think it is great fun to scan all of the shopping which is a great bonus because it really takes the stress away from doing a food shop when your children are eager to help.
If the leading supermarkets are cutting their prices to win back customers, will the discount supermarkets feel the need to improve on the shopping experience by adding maybe one or two self-service checkouts in their stores to help keep customers?
Online shopping has grown rapidly over the past few years. I think that most of us are beginning to expect to have the option to shop online no matter where we want to buy things from. The problem with this is that the discount supermarkets don’t offer this option. The money that would be needed to set this up and to advertise it must be horrendous, so I can understand that to keep their prices low this is something that they might not be able to afford to venture into. But if the leading supermarkets are really cutting their prices then this can be a real danger for the discount stores.
We don’t know exactly how this will all pan out, and whether the big supermarkets will keep their prices low or not, but if they do…
Will you still shop around to save every penny you can or will you sacrifice a few pounds a week to shop conveniently in one supermarket?