Home > Communications > Independent View

IGA Brand Resources Help Complete the Retailing Puzzle

Author: Nakul Patel

The Independent View

Nakul Patel 2

IGA Brand Resources Help Complete the Retailing Puzzle  

 December 4, 2012 

 

My wife and I were in the liquor business in London when we came to Florida for a family holiday back in 1997. We were at a point where we felt like we needed to go somewhere new and do something that would make a difference, so I stayed in Florida to look at new business opportunities after my wife and kids went home. After 14 months of looking, one day I walked into an independent grocery store. I started to think about how that store impacted the community and the people who shopped there, and everything clicked. Soon after, we became IGA retailers.

One thing I have learned along the way is that a grocery store is a lot like a jigsaw puzzle: Take away one of the pieces and it doesn't work very well. For us, the pieces come down to structure, great employees, hometown philosophy, and staying connected with our customers. The good news here is that IGA helps with all of those things. Being a member helps structurally because through IGA we have strong relationships with vendors, our ad group and our wholesaler. It helps with the employee piece with a really effective training program through the IGA Coca-Cola Institute. The hometown philosophy is obvious—IGA mirrors what we had already decided we wanted to do by making our store the heart of the community, and when you do that, connecting with customers falls right into place.

If there's one thing lately that has really made a big difference in setting us a part from the competition, I would say it's the IGALink program. Our IGALink website and email newsletters have really moved our customer connection to a different level because they give us the ability to connect with shoppers outside of the store. We send out email newsletters twice a week, linking them to our website, incorporating our digital ad, and including anything else we want to get across to shoppers. The great thing about that is now we're marketing to an audience that really wants to hear from us—and it's working. Each time we send an email newsletter about a special promotion we see an immediate spike in sales. In comparison, it makes advertising in the local paper seem like a shot in the dark.

MT Plymouth IGA 2012

What it really comes down to is taking advantage of the resources you're given through the brand. IGA makes the retailing part easier so I can concentrate on the part that was always most appealing to me—making a difference by giving back to the community we serve. To me, that's what independent retailing is all about.

Thanks,

Nakul Patel