STUDY: BEST CUSTOMERS NEED RIGHT PRODUCT MIX

MINNEAPOLIS -- The top 20% of supermarket customers account for almost 50% of specialty food sales, according to a new study released by Willard Bishop Consulting, Barrington, Ill., at the National Food Distributors Association's annual convention here.Laura Henze, an associate at Willard Bishop who presented the study's results, also cited related data from another study to emphasize the importance

MINNEAPOLIS -- The top 20% of supermarket customers account for almost 50% of specialty food sales, according to a new study released by Willard Bishop Consulting, Barrington, Ill., at the National Food Distributors Association's annual convention here.

Laura Henze, an associate at Willard Bishop who presented the study's results, also cited related data from another study to emphasize the importance of loyalty marketing. The related study, done by Partners in Loyalty Marketing, Chicago, found that higher-spending shoppers spent 60% more on groceries than the rest of shoppers. Moreover, supermarkets captured only about 50% of the big spenders' grocery dollars, with the rest going to various channels, including mass merchants and convenience stores.

To attract, hold and satisfy higher-spending customers, retailers must have the right product mix, Henze concluded. Retailers who wish to retain the best customers must offer a good selection of specialty foods, Henze told the audience.

The Willard Bishop study results were based on household-specific data collected over a 12-week period from two supermarket chains -- one in the Midwest and one in the Southeast.

Other key findings of this study were that specialty buyers are devoted purchasers of specialty foods; consumers tend to spend more when they purchase specialty foods; specialty foods can make up a large percentage of a household's total grocery spending in a given category; and consumers who buy specialty foods also purchase mainstream items in the same category.