4 Things the Best US Grocery Stores Have in Common

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In a recent survey data, it has been found that The Fresh Market is America’s favorite grocery store, with ALDI and Lidl following very close behind. Which makes you wonder…what aspects of these stores make them so beloved?

Why’s everybody so mad about them? What makes customers rush into these stores, buying all sorts of things? According to experts, there are many things that contribute to a store’s overall appeal, some of which include convenient location, availability of items, value, and how clean the place is.

Naturally, customers care about much more than just these things. In fact, let’s take a deeper dive and see what the best grocery stores in America have in common:

What are the characteristics of a great grocery store?

Convenient Location

Let’s be honest, if there’s something that matters to a customer, that’s the convenience factor. This may come in various forms, from providing shopping cart corrals, to implementing self-checkout lanes, or even setting up a quick-shop area at the front of the store so you can get commonly purchased items.

However, having a convenient location is probably the most useful factor. I mean, how would a grocery store expect to welcome lots of people if its location is far away from civilization or surrounded by horrible traffic? That’s why some of the best grocery stores on this list are placed strategically in large plazas or even in the middle of highly-populated places.

Item Availability

How a store takes care of its item availability is also linked to the convenience factor. Customers hate when they specifically enter a grocery store for an item and they find out that it’s not currently available.

It’s way better to go somewhere where you know for sure you’re going to find everything you need. Plus, it’s worth mentioning that those grocery stores that have a vast number of goods stocked will have their sales considerably increased.

How many of us ended up dropping more things in our shopping carts than we initially wanted? So the more the shelves are stocked, the more likely for the customers to make impulse purchases. A well-stocked display is way more appealing to shoppers, and it’s also encouraging you to make more sales.


Let’s be honest: who doesn’t want to feel like they are getting the most bang for their buck? The best grocery store succeeds in giving their customers constant deals, in order to keep their loyalty and push new products.

For example, Wegmans is offering its Shopper’s Club program to its customers. It doesn’t cost you anything to sign up, and doing this only has many benefits, including rotating discounts on some items, digital coupons, and even additional integration with the Wegmans App.

The top-notch grocery stores will always try to keep their standard prices as competitive as possible, no matter how the discounts, loyalty cards, or coupons might later lower them. Even more, for added transparency, there are some stores that might even put tags and labels on items mentioning the price difference between them and their competitors.

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Even if it’s a small difference, say, of 50 cents, it’s still a big deal for most shoppers. However, it’s worth remembering that value isn’t just about saving money. You have to focus on the quality of products and services.

Customers might be willing to pay a bit more on their grocery bill, as long as you’ll have a more pleasant and convenient shopping experience. The ideal grocery experience has a wide variety of fresh products, easy access to shopping carts and baskets anywhere in the store, proper customer service, specialty departments, and many more. All these things only add value to a shopper’s experience, besides cost savings.


In the end, all the good grocery stores in America are very clean. The importance of this cannot be emphasized enough, especially if we’re talking about grocery chains. An unclean grocery store will eventually lead to health risks that surpass the simple tripping hazard caused by spilled milk.

Not to mention that most grocery stores these days will have incorporated a salad bar and a hot food bar. Customers and employees might touch the food, cough or even sneeze on it, or spill something on the food and then carelessly leave it there. Without a good monitoring system, customers might consume contaminated food.

Clean floors, bathrooms, and hygienic surfaces are on the top of the list of things that matter, including large and small shopping carts and baskets. So many customers don’t use personal shopping carts, but many of them are relying on those shared ones.

No one should expect employees to wipe down every single cart after every use, so grocery stores might consider installing wipe stations near cart locations. It will allow customers to wipe down their shopping carts, but also sanitize their hands before every usage.

On the same note, the best grocery stores will have several hand sanitizing stations in different spots on the store, especially near areas that could possibly harbor bacteria or many germs, like the meat and eggs, next to checkout, and by the hot/cold food bars.

While not every customer might utilize these stations, those who will do will definitely reduce the large number of germs in the store. This will keep proper maintenance, having a clean, and safe environment that shoppers will definitely notice and appreciate.

What else?

The four things that we enlisted above are some of the most important qualities a grocery store might contain, but there’s more. One of the traits a store might take into consideration is the variety of shopping carts: large baskets, small baskets, cargo carts, and hybrids. The more options, the better. Grocery stores might even get more customers thanks to the convenience and customization of such facilities.

What makes a grocery store an industry leader?

Well, the best American grocery stores have a strong brand and a unique character, but they do share some common strengths. Convenient locations are always the number one priority, but also in high-demand items. Also, as mentioned before, the store needs to be properly cleaned.

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Why is the location so important?

The best and most successful grocery stores have enough resources to build a store in every strategic location. Because let’s be honest, we all prefer going to the closest store, instead of driving a long distance. For most of us, minimizing customer commute is equal to greater convenience, and a greater chance for us to come back to the same store for purchasing the essentials.

What does cleanliness have to do with a grocery store’s success?

Grocery stores that won’t stick to regular hygiene will only lead to more health risks for customers and employees. Food might become contaminated if it isn’t well prepared, displayed, and sold in a clean environment. Proper monitoring and cleaning of all food counters and display cases will assure your customers of and safe journey.

How do shopping baskets help the best grocery stores succeed?

Shopping baskets and carts will offer customers the possibility to shop comfortably and buy as many things as possible. Customers will spend more time shopping and spending their money in the store, which is exactly the goal of any grocery store. A variety of cart and basket types will give shoppers greater control over the customer experience.

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