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These are just a few of the questions answered by the trained, local shoppers who visited IGA stores in the first of three rounds of assessments scheduled for 2019. Designed to show IGA retailers what shoppers see and experience in the store, the new Assessment program created in partnership with Survey.com concentrates less on IGA branding and more on measuring what matters to shoppers, namely their overall shopping experience. The end result is a detailed assessment report designed to give you the feedback you need to continually improve the shopability of your store.
Accessing your report
To date, 97 percent of the spring IGA store assessments are complete, and emails have been sent to each of the assessed stores granting access to the Assessment Dashboard. If you haven’t received the Assessment report email from Survey.com (and have already checked your spam and clutter folders), please contact IGA’s Jason King for more information on your Assessment status.
Included in your assessment report will be the assessors’ scoring for each of the survey questions (including photos and notes), your overall score, and your Five Star ranking for this assessment. Keep in mind the Five Star ranking in your report is merely to give you a benchmark on your performance. Your spring assessment will not actually count toward Five Star status; it’s a “dress rehearsal” designed to help everyone—your IGA assessment team, Survey.com and its trained assessors, and IGA retailers—hone the new assessment process.
“This round of assessments is important because it gives IGA retailers an opportunity see how we’re measuring shopability and get ready for the subsequent assessments that ‘count’ toward Five Star, but it’s also a big learning opportunity for us,” says IGA’s Paulo Goelzer, who is driving the new Assessment program. “It gives us insight into how the questions, scoring, and even the process itself should be tweaked. Performance measurement is a journey, so we have to make sure we’re continually getting better on our end so the retailers know how to get better on their end.”
According to Goelzer, the spring assessments have already shed light on a number of things that will be refined in the next round, all of which should help to make retailers more comfortable with the assessment process and Five Star ratings.
Ultimately, the overall “Star” rating for 2020 will be determined based on the combined average of your summer and winter scores. On top of that, there will be a new level of recognition for the top three percent of stores called Five Star Platinum, recognizing the very best IGA stores across the country.
While the remaining three percent of stores must be assessed before a detailed study of overall results can be done, initial findings are positive, says IGA CEO John Ross. “So, far the numbers look good. The vast majority of IGA stores hit Four Star or better, and some stores that didn’t earn the top mark before now have a Five Star rating.”
To help you better understand what it takes to be Five Star or above, Ross recently filmed a video tour of Foothills IGA. The store, owned by Jeff and Sandy Downing, sits in a small town in Marble Hill, Georgia with a mix of low income and higher income consumers. Faced with a barrage of competitors—Walmart, Kroger, Publix, and dollar stores are all within seven miles of the store—Foothills IGA has some of highest and most consistent comp sales increases year over year, and one of the top scores for this round of assessments.
In his blog last week, Ross identified some key attributes contributing to the store’s success, ranging from continual store investments and differentiated offerings to standout merchandising. Watch the video below for more insight on each, including what Ross feels is the most important attribute—training and developing their team.
“Yes, they make investments in their store, and yes, they are constantly keeping their interior clean, but they consider those the table stakes. The difference is really their associates, and when you talk to them, you see it really pays off,” Ross says during the video tour below. “They’re bright, they’re friendly, they’re engaged, and they want to work with the shoppers to make sure they’re getting what they want and need.”
Getting ready for round two
Watch the video tour with John Ross for more insights on what it takes to be a top-rated store.
How do we make sure we are all prepared for the next assessment coming your way later this summer? The key, says Ross, is to sit down with your team, analyze your results, and take stock of the issues called out in the assessment.
“This first round of reports is a gift in a way,” Ross says. “It’s an opportunity for you to see what the raters say about your store, take a look at the comments and photos, and decide as a team what, if anything, needs to be adjusted.”
Also important, however, is letting the IGA team know what you like about the new assessment, and any concerns you may have. “We’re looking at the assessment through the eyes of the shopper, and that’s a big adjustment from where we have been in the past. Now that everyone has seen the approach, we need feedback on everything from the philosophy to the process,” Ross says.
To that end, IGA is hosting an Assessment webinar with a live Q&A June 11 at 1 p.m. CDT to get your questions answered and offer feedback on the new assessment process. Click here to register.
Need a recap?
Follow these steps to get the most from your assessment: