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Webster’s dictionary defines shopability as…
(noun): The condition of a store that makes it easy for a customer to find items for purchase.
Sounds simple, right? That is, until you think about all the things that go into the process of “making it easy” for a customer to find and complete a purchase in your store.
“Essentially, shopability touches every single aspect of the customer experience, from the look and feel of the store and the products you offer to the customer’s interaction with your team and beyond,” says IGA’s Paulo Goelzer, who is driving the Assessment Program. “The greater the shopabilty in your store, the greater likelihood you have of making the initial sale with your shopper, and getting them back again.”
Now that we know that a high rate of shopability is essential to sales, loyalty, repeat business—basically everything that is crucial to the overall success of your business—how do we measure it? And perhaps most importantly, how do we ensure it's measured with a retailer's local identity and the store's specific shopper needs in mind?
That’s where the IGA Assessment Program comes into play.
"Unlike a national chain, our assessment isn't designed to generate a cookie cutter corporate metric," IGA CEO John Ross says of the new program that places a reduced focus on branding and an increased concentration on operations, merchandising, and service. "It's designed to give our store owners the independent feedback they need to learn how to serve their specific customers and their communities better."
From using trained, local shoppers to assess stores, to continually adapting the program based on retailer feedback to ensure the assessment is living up to its promise to provide targeted and useful tactics for improvement, IGA is intent on making the new Assessment Program the most valuable resource available to help you track and enhance the shopability of your store.
With the summer assessment scores due out next week, take a look at what's different about this latest round.
The second of three unrevealed assessments that will be performed in 2019 and the first assessment that counts toward your overall 2020 Five Star score, your summer assessment reflects some key changes from the pilot round earlier this year.
“The spring pilot assessment was important because it gave IGA retailers an opportunity to see how we’re measuring shopability and get ready for the subsequent assessments that ‘count’ toward Five Star, but it was also a big learning opportunity for us," says Goelzer. "Not surprisingly, a lot of IGA retailers got in touch with us to talk about their issues and ideas for the assessment, and that gave us insight into how the questions, scoring, and even the process itself should be tweaked.”Refinement of Categories and Questions
Based on feedback from retailers, IGA and Survey.com edited the summer assessment questionnaire, omitting categories and questions that were nonessential to the overall shopability of the store—including inventory audit, use of technology, product availability, and store decorations for the season, to name a few. In total there are now 15 graded categories (or sections, as they are called in the questionnaire), ranging from bakery, deli, meat, and produce to staff assessment and checkout lane. Note: if your store does not have a department represented in the questionnaire, you will not be penalized.Expanded Questions Around Behaviors
At the same time, a number of new questions were added around employees’ interaction with shoppers, creating an enhanced focus on service measurement. Using findings from last year’s IGA Way to Care shopper experience pilot, IGA formed questions focusing on the behaviors participating IGA retailers said were essential to IGA’s promise of personalized customer service, including proactive greeting, making eye contact, offering help, and providing knowledgeable, undivided attention. With this new alignment between the assessment and Way to Care, retailers whose scores show a need for service improvement can find an immediate resource in the Way to Care training course available through the IGA Coca-Cola Institute. Visit igainstitute.com and search for the Way to Care Essentials training course.Improved Rating Scale
Previously, the assessor’s questionnaire had only “yes” or “no” answer options. Understanding that in many cases the answers were not black and white, the assessment now features a grading scale that assigns points to answers ranging from 1 (strongly agree) to 5 (strongly disagree). And while the total amount of points will be awarded if the assessor chooses either of the top two answers (“strongly agree” or “agree,”), retailers who receive the “agree” over “strongly agree” will find an indication of what could be improved in the pictures and comments accompanying the question.New Features on Your Reporting Dashboard
The Assessment Dashboard is your home base for your collected data and reporting tools. New for this round of assessments, the reporting dashboard will reveal the amount of points possible in each of the 15 assessment sections, as well as your score in those categories.
Expect an email from Survey.com next week alerting you that your score is available on your Assessment Dashboard. 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. However, please keep in mind that your 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.
Watch your email for your assessment report, and stay tuned to The IGA Minute for more Assessment Program information in the coming week.