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Price is no longer the only factor that consumers consider when choosing a store. Trust and a wide selection are now more important

COMMERCEPrice is no longer the only factor that consumers consider when choosing a store. Trust and a wide selection are now more important

Price criteria continue to matter when making purchases, but consumers place more importance on trust in a brand and a wide variety. Indeed, they do compare prices online, but they still prefer to shop offline – as revealed in the EY Retail Performance Ranking 2023 study. Sustainable development is one of the five key factors in product selection, though domestic customers often aspire to buy sustainable products more than they can actually afford.

Challenges for retail companies include inflation, economic slowdown, and the development of e-commerce and new technologies. Additional complexities come from ever-changing consumer preferences, making the necessity to adapt operational strategies quite demanding.

According to the Polish edition of the EY retail study – Retail Performance Ranking 2023 – while price remains important for buyers, it is not the only determinant. Trust and a wide selection ranked higher.

Modern consumers trust the brand of the store and appreciate a wide product range, choosing retailers with a long market history. This trend has been seen in Poland for years in the format of discount stores, which not only attract customers with the lowest prices but also with a rich assortment on the shelf.

Interestingly, the only segment where customer service quality had a bigger impact on overall rating than the price of offered products were online trading platforms. This might be due to the quick comparison of offers provided by these platforms, thus making the ease of operations and the quality of shopping experience more important.

The EY study showed that excellence in digital criteria has less influence on the overall rating of sellers than overall excellence, such as trust, wide range, or sustainable development.

Sustainable development is also considered when it comes to where Polish consumers will make future purchases. At present, trust is most important for them, but their forecasts indicate that sustainable development will take the lead. Customers want to use stores that are more sustainable, which for 75% of respondents signifies modernity and innovation.

At the same time, as the EY Future Consumer Index study showed, the prices of eco-friendly products are perceived as high. In the first half of 2023, this was thought by 84% of respondents. They believe that high prices will reduce sales volumes and result in lower growth prospects for the eco-friendly products market.

Retailers need to adapt to changing consumer preferences, for whom trust, broad selection, customer service quality and sustainable development are key values. Price is no longer the only decisive factor in striving for long-term business success. Sustainable development is gaining importance, but higher prices for ecological products are a barrier for consumers, especially in times of crisis.

The Retail Performance Ranking is a cyclical, international study commissioned by EY-Parthenon assessing retailers according to their stationary, digital, and overall excellence. It was conducted in seven countries, covering over 900 retail sellers from ten business sectors and over 45,000 respondents. In the study conducted in 2023, respondents from Poland participated for the first time with 2800 respondents rating 65 different retail sellers.

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