6 Simple Steps for a Successful Holiday Season

Sep 18, 2019

Holiday grocery shopping is a big business that keeps getting bigger, with grocery and beverage sales up 1.9 percent during the 2018 holiday season for a total of $130.5 billion.

And while non-traditional grocery retailers like Amazon, Whole Foods, and Walmart continue to break their grocery sales records over the holidays, turns out there’s still plenty of opportunity for the local grocer. According to a recent State of Grocery Report, close to 43 percent of shoppers surveyed do most of their holiday food shopping at their local store.

So how do you ensure shoppers look to your Hometown Proud IGA for their holiday shopping needs? Check out these tips from your fellow IGA retailers to create a memorable, fun, and convenient experience that keeps your shoppers coming back for more.

  1. Dress Up Your Store

    Set the scene for a festive holiday season by decorating your store. Ask your most artistic employee to create window art, or even better, involve the community like Larkfield IGA in East Northport, New York did when they asked art students from the local school to paint their holiday window mural.

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    Or go all out working with your Red Oval Family partners on a full-scale holiday display, like this Frozen-themed Coca-Cola brand display from Susanville Supermarket IGA in Susanville, California (can you spot
    Olaf?).

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  2. Make Holiday Menu Planning Simple

    55 percent of surveyed shoppers said grocers can make their holidays easier by grouping the holiday items in one area of the store. Help those holiday home chefs find what they’re looking for and spark additional menu ideas with your displays. Look to the holiday-themed items from the National Digital Ad for a large holiday display near the store entrance, or group common holiday items—canned pumpkin, spices, stuffing mixes, fried onions, etc.—in small displays near checkout or aisle end caps.

    Want to take it a step further? Print menu cards for traditional holiday dishes like green bean casserole or candied yams, or use signage to direct shoppers to IGA.com for holiday recipes and shopper-facing blogs.

  3. Do the Work for Shoppers

    In the survey, a quarter of Millennial and Gen-Z respondents expressed a desire for pre-made holiday meal offerings. They want more mashed potatoes and stuffing! With nearly 50 percent asking for these popular sides, seize the opportunity to give your younger shoppers what they’re craving this holiday season at the hot bar or as prepared deli items.

    And don’t forget the holiday sweets! Kishman’s IGA in Minerva, Ohio hosts a two-day Cookie Walk aimed at providing customers with an endless variety of pick-and-choose treats they need to get them through the holiday season. Everyone’s favorite holiday cookies are represented, with 20 feet of cookies baked on site, including: ginger molasses, wedding cookies, M&M sugar cookies, raspberry burst, lemon shortbread, mint chocolate chip, no-bakes, gingerbread men, chocolate chip, coconut pecan, Christmas shortbread, and more. Customers grab a box and walk down the line, selecting cookies and paying by the pound ($7.99/lb).

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  4. Highlight Your Holiday Specialties

    For the past 20 years, Bob’s Windham IGA in Willimantic, Connecticut has been doing a special holiday sale the first week of December that focuses on bone-in prime rib for Christmas dinner.

    “We sell a ton of them,” said Rob Buonomano, one of the store owners. Doing the sale early helps the store create a draw for the product and ensures customers are buying early and planning ahead before the holiday rush, he added. The truck sale includes other types of meat, as well, with other popular items being whole
    top sirloin and pork crown roasts.

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  5. Host Holiday Events

    Tying in an event is a great way to create a draw during the busy holiday season, like the holiday food and wine event at Schild’s IGA in Grafton, Ohio.

    This ticketed event featuring store-made food and vendors sampling a total of 16-20 bottles of wine was so successful, they now host two regular wine events a year in addition to a weekly tasting. Hear Schild’s IGA owner Kevin Schild speak to this award-winning best practice at the IGA Global Rally last year.




    For Thanksgiving, the majority (57 percent) of responders in the State of Grocery survey report buying their turkey in a traditional grocery store. Ensure they will come to you to buy their bird with a fun and exciting promotion, such as this turkey bowling event at McKim’s IGA in Mount Vernon, Indiana.



    Or make your store a community hub by hosting visits from Santa, like Granite Falls IGA in Washington.

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  6. Highlight Local

    Don’t miss out on the opportunity to promote your Local Equals Fresh advantage and highlight your partnerships with local and regional vendors. Sample local cheeses, wines, and crackers for holiday parties; jams, jellies, and sauces for gifts and stocking stuffers; and local meats for impressive holiday meals. For inspiration, see how Sponey’s IGA in Ohio showcases their area producers. 

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