The IGA brand has lasted for over 90 years. Competitive grocery chains have come and gone, new types of competitors have emerged, and new ways of doing business—like eCommerce—have grown in importance. And through it all the IGA brand has changed as our marketplace has evolved.
IGA owners do so many things right: amazing customer services, loyal associates, skilled butchers, bakers, operators. And of course, our stores make a commitment to local farmers and suppliers, and give back to the community in a way no national chain ever would.
But as good as we are, we are not perfect. Every store owner knows there are 100 things that need attention, but on any given day, you only have the resources and focus to fix 10. Big or small, no retailer can address every issue every day—it’s impossible.
That’s why IGA changed the Five Star Assessment process last year. The new in-store ratings process was designed to give you a picture of how an outsider sees your stores—literally hundreds of photos taken in your store, three times a year. IGA uses the tools to identify best practice retailers so we can show off the cool things you are doing, and store owners use the tool to help them improve.
But as we all know, COVID-19 has put pressure on our stores like never before. We don’t want to continue the same assessment—someone running around telling you all the little things that need attention when demand is through the roof won’t be helpful.
So why conduct an assessment now?
Shoppers are coming to our stores more than ever before. Many are new shoppers, visiting our stores because other choices aren’t open or because they don't feel safe traveling to the big box store in the next town. If we want to convert these new shoppers into loyal shoppers once COVID-19 is a memory, we need to make sure we are serving them well.
And one more big reason—we are using the assessments to fact-check our in-stock levels for many of our big brands. We want to ensure that the independent channel, our LDCs, and IGA specifically are getting our fair share of product and nothing motivates a manufacturer like pictures of missing items on shelves.
We have also streamlined the study to ensure we're addressing what's really important during COVID-19. No graded questions about in-stock levels, for example, when we are still experiencing uneven supply levels (the fact-checking for big brand in-stocks is for research, but not a graded effort). And of course, asking a rater if your associates are smiling is pretty useless when people have to wear masks! (IGA raters will wear masks and follow strict safety standards, including both IGA Corporate's and your local rules.)
The Assessment begins the week of July 27, and will last for one to two months. Raters will do a walk on their own, and then identify themselves to store management before taking any photos. Click here to learn more, see our FAQs, and find out where to locate your results.
The feedback from retailers has been overwhelmingly positive about the new Assessment program, but as always, we look forward to hearing from you. This program is your program and if there are ways to update or enhance the Five Star Assessment program, let us know.