Aisles of accolades

Texas grocery chain bags new place among America's favorite stores

Texas grocery chain bags new place among America's favorite stores

H-E-B grocery store pharmacy exterior
H-E-B bags another honor. H-E-B/Facebook

Over the years, San Antonio-based grocery giant H-E-B has loaded up its cart with lots of accolades. Now, there’s a new one for shoppers to check out.

In a new report from Dunnhumby, a company that specializes in customer data science, H-E-B emerges as the fourth highest-rated grocery retailer in the U.S. They come in behind Trader Joe's at No. 1, Costco at No. 2, and Amazon at No. 3. Dunnhumby based its rankings on a survey of 7,000 U.S. households.

The report takes into account a combination of “consumer emotional sentiment” and financial performance. Specifically, the rankings grade grocery retailers on seven factors: price, quality, digital presence, operations, convenience, discounts/rewards, and speed of service.

The rankings form the foundation of Dunnhumby’s 2019 Retailer Preference Index for the grocery business. The index debuted in 2018, when H-E-B also ranked fourth.

“The retailers who focus their business on superior value perception – defined by the strongest combination of price and quality – tend to have the most financial success and the strongest emotional bond with consumers,” Dunnhumby says.

The rankings give high marks to H-E-B for maintaining quality, particularly its “superior” private-label goods, and for running a “smooth, cost-efficient retail operation.”

The chain’s emphasis on private-label offerings “underscores H-E-B’s focus on getting their overall product selection right. They also have some of the highest scores in the study for having the right variety of products to meet a [customer’s] needs,” according to Dunnhumby.

The report also lauds H-E-B’s unique customer experience at its more than 340 stores in the U.S. and Mexico. For instance, it dedicates a section to paleo-friendly foods and showcases Texas-made products throughout its stores. “They do this without appearing to be too upscale — just clean and well-maintained,” the report says.

Praise from several unidentified H-E-B customers is also included in the survey results. For instance, one customer highlights the retailer’s personalized service:

“They will bring an electric cart to your [car]. They will actually assign someone to help you shop. What more can you ask for? This is the only store that I know that offer these services.”

Meanwhile, another shopper summarizes the feelings of many customers with these brief descriptions of H-E-B: “Local, a Texas tradition, great prices, wide variety and selection, excellent store brands.”