As new competitors and formats continue to gain traction, shoppers' expectations continue to increase, and profit margins continue to fall, independent retailers more often than not are finding themselves in what can seem like a no-win situation when it comes to making store improvements.
"When you're an independent, you're always trying to balance the need for store upgrades with the resources available," Kevin Young of Young's Payless IGA, says. "And when that's the case, it's easy to keep kicking that can on down the road."
So how can IGA retailers improve the look and feel of their stores without breaking the bank? Enter the new IGA Décor program, an affordable décor solution designed to help IGA retailers get the most bang for their capital improvement buck and outshine competitors by reinforcing IGA's Local Equals Fresh brand differentiation.
And it's working.
An upgrade that pays for itself
Nestled in the rolling green hills of central California, Young's Payless IGA in Copperopolis has had a good year. Implementing best practices, adding new Local Equals Fresh branding elements, and tons of community support in the wake of the California fires paid off with an eight percent increase in sales over last year, so Young decided to put some money back into the store. "We needed to spruce things up, but we didn't want to invest in a full remodel. When IGA asked if we wanted to be one of the first retailers to test out the new décor program, we thought we'd give it a try," he says.
After a few nights of installations, the store was transformed with fresh paint, new aisle navigation, department signs, and other large wall and hanging graphics all custom tailored to the store. Young knew the makeover had caused a buzz in the small town and that it had been well-received by employees and shoppers, but had no idea just how successful it actually was until he took a look at the numbers 12 weeks later and realized the store is now averaging a 15 percent increase in sales.
I was floored, because I knew we were having increases, but I didn’t realize just how big it has been. Just 12 weeks post décor upgrade and we've pretty much already paid for the investment," Young says. "We've looked at and made a lot of décor upgrades over the years in our stores, but this was the least expensive and most effective of any we've seen."
Why refresh your décor?
According to the recent 2019 Independent Grocers Financial Survey from FMS and NGA, about 20 percent of independent retailers upgraded their stores last year in some way, ranging from full store remodels to simple décor updates. But with chain stores historically upgrading their stores with much greater frequency, independents are often left at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to the look and feel of the store.
IGA's new décor program builds on IGA’s Local Equals Fresh strategy to give IGA stores a distinctive, fresh, new look of their own. You'll recognize the branding immediately since IGA Décor is built on the same system—the handcrafted fonts, colors, icons, and imagery of fresh products all compliment the brand identity already in place by IGA retailers across the country in the Local Equals Fresh Launch Kit.The clean design is vibrant and engaging, while reducing the visual clutter that often exists in busy stores.
Most importantly, stores have the ability to customize just about every aspect by using their own local images and department names to best represent the culture of their communities. "In order for the décor system to be successful, it has to be flexible enough to work for each individual store," says IGA Creative Services Manager Joel Widmer.
See how Everyday IGA’s Richard Chadwick and Gary and Leo’s Laura and John Malisani refreshed their stores with customized décor elements, and how both shoppers and employees reacted to the new design in the video below.
How it helps
Of course upgrading your store’s décor will make it look better, but that’s only the beginning of the benefits. If your store is looking a little worse for wear, it's time to consider a fresh, modern look that will differentiate, attract new shoppers, and ultimately increase sales.
1. Differentiate your store with clear and meaningful messaging
IGA’s Local Equals Fresh signage kit and store décor work together to create a clear message that identifies how your IGA is different—more local, more community focused, and more invested in the shopper—than any of the surrounding chain stores. The two kits combined give you everything you need to tell a story that matters to your shoppers.
When implementing the new IGA Décor, remember that you’re refreshing your store’s overall look. That means for new signs to come in, old signs must come down. Otherwise, the store depicts conflicting messaging and styles, which deter shoppers.
Grant's Supermarket demonstrates how Local Equals Fresh signage plus IGA Décor work best together.
2. Retain and attract new shoppers with a better shopping experience
In many IGA retailers’ markets, there is fierce competition from big box stores or national grocery chains. To retain current shoppers and attract new ones, each store must ensure an outstanding shopper experience. A large part of a positive shopping experience includes a clean, easy to navigate store, which makes a better overall impression.
Everyday IGA upgraded their aisle markers using the IGA Décor program.
Old, worn fixtures, dingy or chipping paint, and outdated or confusing signage can suggest a lack of cleanliness and lack of fresh food. The beauty of IGA's new décor is that it doesn't have to take a lot of money or effort to make a big impact.
“It’s easy to get store blind, as independent grocers often don’t have the time or resources to invest in visual merchandising," Widmer explains. "Grocery stores are visually busy environments by nature, with a large amount of products. Offering simple and clean signage helps relieve that clutter and clearly guides shoppers to the products they came to buy."
The clean, streamlined checkout area at Grant's Supermarket provides a positive shopping experience.
“When it comes to fitting your store with new décor, less is more,” Widmer says. “Fresh paint, large departmental signs, and aisle navigation transform the look and energy of your store in an easy and affordable way.” If you want to take it a step further, the IGA Décor program can also help guide more substantial upgrades, like replacing flooring, fixtures, cases, lighting, and more.
PRO TIP: Walk a competitor's store to get a fresh perspective on how store design can impact a shopper's experience.
3. Increase sales
The refresh gives you the opportunity to advertise a new look, host an unveiling for added press, and most importantly, increase the spend per basket—a trend the first IGA retailers to install the decor are already seeing.
Like Kevin Young, whose décor update has helped the store bring an additional $267,000 in sales in the 12 weeks since the decor was completed, Everyday IGA’s Richard Chadwick also saw store sales increase immediately following the IGA Décor upgrade. The upgrade was finished in late October, and to date, he's had a more than one percent sales increase—and that's a number he expects to continue to increase. "Shoppers are really responding to the reminder that we're all local, supporting each other," says Chadwick of his store's new community-focused décor signage.
Ready to make a change? Meet your new partners!
We’ve made it easy for you to get started with the IGA Decor program so you can update your store’s appearance.
Understanding that choice is important, especially in independent retailing, IGA has partnered with two proven décor providers—Innomark Communications and Hyperformance Graphics.
You choose which partner is best for your needs, and they will guide you through the process from start to finish.
- Through an initial phone call, the retailer and décor provider will discuss the store’s needs and budget.
- After an onsite meeting and physical site survey, the décor provider will finalize pricing, deliver a custom proposal, and schedule an installation date.
- The décor provider will then produce, ship, and install the signs. Once complete, they will follow up to ensure retailer satisfaction.
Click the "get started" button below to learn more about the program—including general costs and FAQs—and complete a brief form at the bottom of the page. Once submitted, each vendor will contact you for additional information in order to provide you with an estimate.
Have more questions? For more information:
email IGA's Joel Widmer at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call him at 773-380-5008.