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The Shelby Report of the Southeast • NOVEMBER 2016

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90th Anniversary The Next Frontier of Shopper Engagement

The stores and brands that foster shopper loyalty are usually those that deliver a consistently personal and pleasant shop“Now, we’re constantly ping experience. IGA stores developing new media and digital are often recognized for content options for our retailers to help them meet the ever-evolving needs of their shoppers.” delivering on those points, but storeowners are —Jim Walz, VP of IGA Brand Development discovering that consumers now want to be engaged in new ways during their shopping visits. The question remains: How best do independent stores offer new programs and services and still retain a personal connection with their customers? “IGA has developed an overall marketing program that gives retailers access to programming in the marketplace,” Jim Walz, VP of IGA brand development, said. “It is available to the independent retailer and is further customized for them. It recognizes the fact they are independent and don’t have a full-time staff of marketing people. We started five years ago with a website program, making it possible for every IGA store to have a presence online. Now, we’re constantly developing new media and digital content options for our retailers to help them meet the ever-evolving needs of their shoppers.” Jim Walz “We’re grocers first,” said Gary Baker, owner of several Baker’s IGA stores in eastern Ohio. “IGA understands we don’t have the time to figure out how to establish or maintain a website. So, they provide these opportunities to us, and that’s half of the battle.” According to Walz, using new media opportunities helps IGA retailers better engage shoppers and connect them with value promotions offered by consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturing partners though email promotion programs. The brand last year launched a website-based shopper education program focused on health and

wellness and has just launched an online shopping program. IGA additionally is rolling out a program to offer retailers an option to manage their social media content through the brand. IGA also works with partners to leverage relationships with product manufacturers in bringing more value to the customer shopping experience. In 2013, IGA engaged reach | influence (reach), a marketing and analytics company focused on loyalty and digital coupon solutions for the small- and mid-market retailers, to develop the IGA Performance Insights program to bring incremental dollars from manufacturing partners to IGA customers. Participating CPG partners bring Gary Baker a value promotion exclusively to IGA shoppers, then transaction data is gathered to help the CPGs understand how their products move during the promotion One of Baker’s stores periods and gain other insights about their brands. “We’ve been involved since the inception of the Performance Insights program,” said Richard Chadwick, owner of Everyday IGA in Great Falls, Montana. “The customer doesn’t have to do anything but purchase products and the discount is applied.” Reach currently is working on launching a digital coupon platform for IGA stores. This technology will allow shoppers to have real-time coupons as they’re going through the checkout lane. “We’re aggregating coupons from nationally syndicated sources and IGA’s relationships with major manufacturers,” noted Eric Green, CEO of reach. “If I can do my part to help level the playing field and bring some price equality to help independents thrive and grow, that’s what our business is about.”

Product Differentiation Is Key for IGA Retailers

IGA offers private label brand products that have become strong marketplace differentiators largely due to consistent quality standards and effective marketing programs. Innovations within the IGA Exclusive Brand line include signature products and an upcoming organic line, as well as promotional activities that inspire product loyalty, such as IGA’s Hometown Label Savers. Launched in 2014, this community-based marketing program encourages community nonprofit organizations to collect IGA Exclusive Brand product barcodes in exchange for funding toward organizational needs. The IGA Hometown Label Savers program returns 10 cents for each qualifying label collected from shoppers and submitted to IGA USA by the participating organization. “We know of no other private label program that produces 10 cents per label,” said Dave Bennett, SVP of procurement and exclusive brands for IGA USA. “Most are a few cents or a nickel, so our program gives back double what other private label programs do for nonprofits.” Dave Bennett “We partnered with Toby’s House, a crisis nursery being built at Great Falls, where parents can drop off children without notice for up to 72 hours,” Richard Chadwick, owner of Everyday IGA in Great Falls, Montana, said. “For every label returned with the IGA PLU (price look up) code, IGA will donate 10 cents

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to Toby’s House. We’re partnering this with an in-store program where shoppers can donate change at the registers. We have shelf talkers with the Toby’s House logo in front of IGA products and promote the fundraiser in our ad every week. We just started this in July but already expect results to be terrific.” IGA also is developing two Richard new product programs to Chadwick launch in 2017. A private label offering will benefit the Partnership for Drug Free Kids. Shoppers simply purchase specific products—like water, ice cream and hamburger and hot dog buns—during the promotional period and a few cents for each qualifying item purchased will be donated to the cause. IGA previously raised $1.25 million over a five-year period for the Wounded Warrior Project. The Alliance also will roll out a new online educational program, in conjunction with GMA and CPG companies, to help shoppers learn more about the contents and origin of the products they purchase from IGA stores. Emphasizing health and wellness “We will continue to emphasize health and wellness in our product lines and are introducing a simple organic line under the IGA brand,” Bennett added. “We expect to have 21 SKUs including tomatoes, vegetables, pasta sauces, red beans, pinto beans, black beans and microwave popcorn on store shelves by the end of the year. In the future, we will be introducing new label designs that feature nutritional information, and we also expect to offer cage-free eggs by 2025.” Perhaps one of IGA’s most recognizable label promo-

tion events is IGA Days. This national overlay program is held annually in October and February, featuring sweepstakes that inspire shopper loyalty, and offering incentive rewards to top retailers. “The IGA Days, along with other customer appreciation events such as Kidsfest in July and August and our IGA Hometown Healthy Challenge in February help drive home to the local community that we’re community focused,” said Kevin Young, owner of three Young’s Payless IGA stores in Northern California. “During our community events, people will be here all day long, interacting with employees and myself.” Retailers who participate in IGA’s Performance Insights Program have additional Kevin Young opportunities to share promotional savings with their customers with two promotions supported by Red Oval partners and two private label promotions. These also generally coincide with IGA Days. “It’s a matter of making sure we continue to provide relevant, quality products within our private label,” Bennett explained. “But we also must keep up with trends in new item development or expanded category offerings, like single-serve coffee items, while continuing to offer savings to shoppers.”

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IGA 90th Anniversary  

IGA 90th Anniversary

IGA 90th Anniversary  

IGA 90th Anniversary

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