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IGALink Gives Shoppers a New Voice at Milam's Market IGA

Author: Allen Milam

The Independent View

Allen Milam

IGALink Gives Shoppers a New Voice at Milam's Market IGA  

 October 4, 2012 

 

I grew up in the era of paper and ink, but in recent years it's become obvious that digital media is not 'the next big thing'—it's the big thing and anyone who isn't onboard is going to miss out. That's why it is so important to me that our stores are not only visible in the online world, but that they also offer a digital experience that keeps shoppers coming back.

That's one of the reasons the IGALink website has been so great for us—it comes with all kinds of stuff already loaded that keeps it engaging for shoppers. There are tools like the shopping list, the recipes, and the coupons, and then there's the content that IGA pushes like sweepstakes, gliders and additional shopper-focused content. There's no heavy upkeep—all that's left to do is to add the things that distinguish our site and make it our own.

On our website we have added the interactive digital ad so our shoppers know what's on sale, information on store departments, and our store history. Because Milam's Markets are known for having a wide variety of gourmet items, we also added a "product request" page that links to the "Contact Us" feature that came with the site.

Really, I think that the "Contact Us" feature is one of the best parts of having a website. Seldom a day that goes by that I don't get an email from a shopper, and the feedback is incredible. In my eyes, it's all positive—the good, the bad and the ugly—because it helps me connect with my shoppers and give them a better experience. I make sure to respond to every email and it's amazing how appreciative they are when they hear back.

We've had a particularly good experience with product requests, and I have to admit that sometimes I'm surprised to learn about the products my store doesn't have in stock. It can happen to anyone—you carry an item, the tag falls off and the product disappears. Without these emails from shoppers, who knows how long it would have taken me to notice, or how many shoppers would have gone somewhere else in the meantime! But when I know about a product need, I've found that almost 80 percent of the time I can get the product for my shopper, and that's a really rewarding feeling.

In this shopper-focused industry, IGALink has given me a way to connect with shoppers on a whole new level, and remind them that I'm their responsive, hometown proud IGA retailer. That gives me a real advantage over the competition every day.

Thanks,

Allen Milam