In preparation for next week's 2012 Awards of Excellence Banquet at the IGA Global Rally in Las Vegas, The Independent View today profiles IGA Australia International Retailers of the Year Michael and Rosemary Lorenz. Read on to learn why they believe IGA is important to their retailing success.
We Australians have an expression—"Aussie Battler"—that describes hard-working families striving for a better way of life. When independent supermarkets are up against the chains, we are doing exactly that. The independent spirit is strong and we live to serve the customer better than the competition each and every day.
Trading under the IGA brand gives our stores many advantages.
With the expertise of the merchandise team, we have buying power which strengthens our position in the market place. The buying power of the IGA group allows store owners like ours to run low-price campaigns to negate some of the price war activity that we have had to endure from the chain stores.
The marketing and advertising teams are responsible for developing campaigns that heighten consumers' awareness of who we are and what we do. In 2010, the national "How the Locals Like It" program was launched, making our brand stand out as the one that truly caters to local shoppers, delivering an offer that keeps them coming back to our store week after week.
Members of the property development and retail operations teams provide us with valuable support when it comes to planning refurbishments and improving store standards. The significant refurbishment of our fresh departments has dramatically turned around sales in recent times. Care is taken with merchandising in fresh, with dedicated specials in power bays, block displays, product sampling and good use of colour, so now our fresh departments account for 35 percent of store sales. Additionally, general merchandise and sections of grocery have also been recently improved, with well thought-out grocery bays that entice shoppers. Thanks to these design and marketing innovations, our overall store growth is over 13 percent.
An area of dominance for IGA stores in Australia is and always has been community. Through sales of particular products, our store collects funds for the IGA Community Chest. This program is dedicated to giving back to and supporting local groups. Over the past 10 years, the Community Chest program and our store's own rewards program together have put back $1 million dollars into our local community. This is territory that is highly sought after by our competitors and remains a constant "thorn in their side".
There's no other brand like IGA in Australia, or any other part of the world, and we're proud to be IGA!
Michael Lorenz and Rosemary Lorenz