When the word "busy" is an understatement, how can an independent grocery retailer be expected to shop around for a good price from a reputable company for the services they need? Services like insurance, recycling and waste management, computers, even background checks.
IGA is here to help. Today we're launching a new program designed to help our members save money and gain access to non-merchandise services needed to run a business. As an IGA member, you now have access to IGA's Inner Circle, a group purchasing organization (GPO) that helps independent grocers save money on non-merchandise services thanks to IGA’s increased buying power.
"We take the buying power of all the retailers in the IGA family and use it to help reduce cost on the not-for-resale items—not the CPGs, but the things they need to spend on anyway," says Bill Alford, founding partner of the Inner Circle's group purchasing organization, Circle the Wagons.
With 8-10 percent of a retailer's total spend on non-merchandise services, according to Alford, and only a two percent profit margin at best for grocery stores, every penny counts, which is why the Inner Circle is a great place for IGA retailers to find savings.
"When you combine your resources and have a single point of negotiation, it's amazing how much leverage that gives you to negotiate with suppliers," says IGA CEO John Ross. "Sometimes it's cost, sometimes it's better service, sometimes it's access to data. It's a huge value add."
Watch the interview between Ross and Alford, as they discuss IGA's Inner Circle and how retailers can use it to turn savings into profits.
How Does It Work?
As Alford mentioned, leveraging the collective size of IGA retailers gives them buying power with vendors. Just as IGA has used our collective size to negotiate affordable rates for the digital circular, the Inner Circle negotiates with vendors for lower rates.
So the next time you need a non-merchandise service, like insurance or used shopping carts, visit iga.com/innercircle to find those vendors who are ready to serve you. Vendors who are part of the Inner Circle are vetted—not just when they come on board, but as we continue our relationship with them. Alford continuously checks in with their clients—the retailers—to ensure they're getting the best service and deals.
Watch this short video to meet Bob, an IGA retailer who uses IGA's Inner Circle, to see how it works.
Here's an example of how the Inner Circle has helped an IGA retailer save money. A multi-store retailer had been working with an office supply company on their own, but when they partnered with the Inner Circle, they were able to save eight percent—about $6,000 a year—with the same company thanks to the group purchasing power.
Ready to get started?
It's easy to start.
- Visit the website: iga.com/innercircle.
- Click on the vendors or services you're interested in.
- Click the "Contact Us To Get Started" button and give us your contact info. We'll connect the you with the vendor and shepherd the process. If you decide to move forward, you will work directly with the vendor and receive the negotiated savings thanks to the Inner Circle.
With the money you'll save, Ross suggests putting it back into the business. "Spend it where you can grow your share, like in a visual merchandising or marketing program, or grow your digital program."
IGA is continuously adding new vendors and services to the Inner Circle, so check back frequently to see new additions. These vendors want to work with IGA retailers, so be sure to visit the Inner Circle first when you have a business need. "Retailers in this world are competing against Amazon and dollar stores, and we want to help keep these retailers relevant," Alford says. "The more IGA retailers who use these vendors' services, the better the savings they can offer."
Better savings and more time to spend with customers? Sounds good!
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