H-E-B reclaims top spot in annual survey of best U.S. grocers
Shawn Mendes and Camillo Cabello called it quits. The word “cheugy” became a thing. Addison Rae got a Netflix deal. Lots of bummer things happened in 2021. But for Texans, no greater indignity was suffered than H-E-B falling behind Amazon on dunnhumby’s Top U.S. Grocery Retailers list.
Thank goodness that’s all behind us. The consumer research firm recently released its 2022 Retailer Preference Index report, a survey of over 30,000 consumers. Once again, H-E-B took the throne, besting more than 60 grocers ranging from giants like Walmart to beloved regional chains like Wegmens.
To arrive at the rankings, dunnhumby zeroed in on five sectors of customer preference: price, promotions and rewards, quality, speed and convenience, digital, and operations. H-E-B scored near the top of three drivers — price, quality, and digital.
H-E-B slipped to the second spot in 2021 due to that all-too-familiar bogeyman — the Covid-19 pandemic. Quarantines and other outside pressures made timesaving and a seamless eCommerce experience more critical to the average shopper.
With pandemic concerns receding, H-E-B’s overall quality and leadership in price, promotions, and rewards have moved to the top of customers’ minds. Meanwhile, the hometown hero has managed to close the digital gap.
Dunnhumby recognized the shift by naming H-E-B in its inaugural survey of the best online grocery retailers in the U.S. in July 2022. In that study, the San Antonio-based chain received high scores for ease in ordering and payments, on-time deliveries, and accuracy in charges, among other metrics.
However, the reason locals keep giving H-E-B its flowers may be more intangible. The retailer has made a name for itself by supporting small Texas companies and supporting community causes, particularly education. And, of course, its fleets are among the first to act during statewide emergencies.
As dunnhumby’s online study stated in 2022, “It is worth highlighting the regional grocer has the best emotional connection … out of all of the retailers in this study.”
In Austin, this certainly explains the enthusiastic reaction to the 2022 announcement that a new H-E-B is slated to open next week on Lake Austin Boulevard.