The start of a new year. The start of a new decade. What will our focus be for the future?
At IGA, we constantly look back at our mission: we exist to help independent retailers survive and thrive versus national chains. That mission was written over 90 years ago, and we think it is every bit as relevant today as at the beginning of the last century.
What’s different are the tools we need to compete. Back then it was access to national brands, commodities, new products. Today it is a much longer list.
Our goal is to continue to develop the tools we need to win. They include all the things a big regional retailer like Publix or HEB would have, scaled (and priced) to appeal to independents. Our strategy for 2020 and the future includes the following:
- Make sure IGA gets the national offers that big retailers get but most independents miss.
- Continue to expand the National Digital Ad, ensuring each IGA retailer has access to the latest digital media and offers to attract new shoppers to their stores.
- Invest in technology that allows us to introduce digital services like loyalty, eCommerce, advertising optimization, and more.
- Continue to invest in the brand, modernizing and improving its power in the marketplace.
You can expect these objectives to continue to be our goals for 2020 and the next few years. Already we have developed new tools and new programs that are generating results.
For example, working with IGA Red Oval partners, we created our first-ever National Digital Ad filled with exclusive offers for IGA shoppers, generating over $20 million in incremental discounts last year that other independents don’t receive. Our January 2020 ad is on track to reach 20 million shoppers, and by the time I write this message for 2021, we anticipate our ad will be on par with the ads of the largest national retailers in the U.S.
Another big success story is our Local Equals Fresh branding positioning, which creates a true point of difference for IGA retailers across the country through our original blogs and recipes on IGA.com, and in our new visual merchandising in stores across the country.
As with any business plan, not everything drives results. Our promise is to double down on the things that show sales results, and to eliminate distractions that aren’t measurable.
What can you expect to see in 2020?
First, look for our national offers to get bigger and better. Expect there to be more offers, too, as more IGA stores sign on for automated offer setup and delivery. And expect our offers to get further and further out so you can do more integrated planning with your ad and with your endcaps.
Second, expect to see more exposure for the IGA brand. More media, more impressions, more eyeballs on your front and back cover items, and the national offers, too.
Third, expect to see more unique merchandising programs, designed to help IGA owners learn what best practices look like, and how they can adopt changes in their store that drive incremental sales. This includes ideas for merchandising, assortment, pricing, promotions, and advertising.
Fourth, look to see a fully reworked private label program, designed to excite shoppers, ensure suppliers support the brand, and grow total store penetration of private label within IGA stores. Look for details on this here and at the IGA Global Rally in March 2020.
Fifth, more brand support than ever before. Look for our first ever truly global promotions. Look for national tie-ins to brand sports and entertainment marketing. And as we prove better and better results, even more support as the year unfolds.
In 2019 we grew in the U.S. and internationally, generating the best year ever for IGA. And we anticipate more retailers joining the IGA family in 2020 than ever before—in fact, our most aggressive growth plan in IGA's history.
And that is the most exciting of all, because as IGA grows, we can behave more like a national chain. With more resources, more impressions, more offers, then we truly are fulling our promise of helping independent retailers compete against national chains.
Hold us in Chicago accountable. Not everything will be easy or smooth, and not everything will work. Let us know what you like and what you want changed. We work for you, after all!
But in the end, the momentum we have going into this next decade should make this the best-ever time for IGA. I couldn’t be more excited about the future.