Highs and lows of the Romanian retail sector in 2019

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Last year started with a rather negative event in the Romanian retail industry: the Competition Council fined three hypermarket chains and four suppliers for violating the regulations concerning prices. Were they able to win their customers’ faith back in 12 months? Text analysis and social listening company Neticle investigated how this affected the dynamics of the sector.

Among the sanctioned companies we find Auchan and Carrefour but besides them, it’s worth researching Kaufland and Lidl as well to see the whole picture. Neticle collected all of the publicly available content in 2019 from the Romanian web about these companies from the internet including articles, comments, forum mentions and social media posts to find the answers.

Store problems ended Lidl’s rise

Let’s start with checking the WOI (Web Opinion Index – Neticle’s universal indicator which summarizes the online opinions into one dynamically changing index).

In the first days of 2019 all four companies had a fairly equal WOI – but it changed in a really short time. Lidl had a huge increase thanks to their campaign about healthy diets (followers qualified their posts as “very useful”).

Unfortunately, their positive atmosphere didn’t last long as they had issues with storing and placing items in inappropriate locations or shelves in the shops which resulted in tons of negative comments from unsatisfied customers.

Kaufland is becoming a love-brand, while Auchan had a hard time

Essentially, the WOI of Carrefour (which company had the second highest fine) didn’t change much – in a negative way. Actually, it increased as a benefit of their positive campaign about their food products. On the other hand, Auchan did not have that much luck – it faced a decrease of WOI. The French retail company had hard times rebuilding a positive image as they were negatively affected by the sanctions.

Kaufland had a busy half year but it paid off. Between January and July they had a higher number of mentions with peaks (mainly positive reviews about CSR programs and their smartphone app). This put their WOI on a positive track that kept growing in the second half of 2019 as well – showing we don’t need people to talk about us continuously to become a love-brand.

Joy motivated the customers in 2019

Even though Lidl was not affected by the fine, this company had the lowest WOI in 2019 at a point – in addition, they had the most negative emotions attached to the brand. In opposition, Carrefour managed to generate a positive vibe for the company. Consumers connected to them with pleasant feelings such as joy and desire. Apparently, to describe the most frequently mentioned emotions regarding Auchan, “neutral” should be the word. The indisputable retail winner of 2019 was Kaufland with a WOI above all the others’ results almost during the whole year in addition to the strong bond with the customers, built from positive emotions.

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