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Tracy West: retail commentator

If thousands of your customers were asked to rate your store for things like appearance, queuing time, range of products and value for money, how do you think you'd do?

Well, Which? has just published a survey where 12,000 consumers had to rate supermarkets across those categories and more. Asda was the worst performer of the 'big four' coming last for both in-store and online shopping.

In-store customers were not impressed by the store's appearance, lack of staff and poor produce. And, when it came to online ordering they were really peeved. Many said it was unusual for them to receive an order without a substitution because something wasn't available. Substitutions are fine, if they are sensible, but one poor Asda customer asked for red wine vinegar and got a bottle of red wine instead.

Morrisons came out top among the 'big four' but was way behind its smaller rivals.

Waitrose bagged the top spot for in-store shopping thanks to 'excellent fresh and own-brand produce plus a great in-store experience'. It scored fours and fives across the board except for in the 'value for money' category, where it scored just two.

Meanwhile, Ocado came top in the online shopping and was praised for 'convenient delivery slots, a great range of products and friendly drivers'. It will be interesting to see how it fares when it switches to M&S.

In its summation, Which? said that while the 'big four' were failing to consistently give their customers a high-quality experience, no supermarket is getting everything right.

Of course, you can't please all of the people, all of the time. But with so much choice open to shoppers, getting it right most of the time is vital for customer loyalty.

That said, my go-to supermarket is Sainsbury's, but their availability is shocking. I don't blame the staff, I blame the management as apparently they use some automated stock system and it obviously isn't working. They often have promotions on products big signs up telling me so but none of the products, and yet I still go back. I've tried other supermarkets and don't like them except for M&S and Waitrose, and I can't afford to shop there every week!


As the smaller/family owned independent forecourt businesses continue to be acquired by the big operators, do you think now could be the right time for you to sell up?