Earlier this year when the pandemic began to take hold in the U.S., IGA postponed its annual IGA Global Rally with plans to reschedule for the fall. With COVID-19 continuing to spread, stores still stressed with increased volume, out of stocks and labor shortages and the safety of travel still in question, IGA has made the decision to host a virtual rally on Nov. 10 and schedule a traditional, in-person IGA Global Rally in 2021.
This offers a unique opportunity to explore how shopper behaviors have changed as a result of COVID, the ways those changes are benefitting independent retailers and how IGA can help you earn – and keep – new shoppers and sales that have come your way since COVID.
Seizing the opportunity
While nothing can replace the value of having the IGA family from around the globe join together in person, there are some benefits to a virtual rally beyond keeping attendees safe.
“When we started the conversation about hosting a virtual event, the big question was, ‘How do we keep this interesting and provide value to our attendees?’” said IGA CEO John Ross. “Now that we’re diving into it, we’re realizing we need to hold some big things for our in-person event next year – like our memorial for Dr. Tom and honoring our award winners – but the business session content doesn’t have to wait, and it’s probably more important this year than ever before. Having a virtual event gives us the flexibility to show rather than tell what we’ve learned about taking care of shoppers as a result of COVID, and in some ways that’s going to make it an even more engaging experience than it would be in person.”
Keeping in mind that store owners and associates are more stressed for time than ever before, the virtual rally condenses what would normally be a multi-day event into five hours of need-to-know content, all coming to you live on location from Fairvalue IGA, a newly remodeled store in Lenoir, North Carolina. And the store isn’t just a backdrop – throughout the day viewers will see IGA programs in action within the store.
“I couldn’t be prouder to do this from a store that has embraced all things IGA, from Local Equals Fresh branding to the National Digital Ad 2.0 and everything in between,” Ross said. “Because people can actually see our programs at work in the store, I think people will walk away with better context for how those same programs can work for their store.”
Fairvalue IGA Owner Shawn Yambor has consented to allow the broadcast from his store in Lenoir and share some of his experiences in working with the IGA program. Additionally, using a Zoom-call approach, a number of other retailers will participate virtually, showcasing their experiences and best practices in areas like e-commerce, IGA Exclusive Brands and localization of the National Digital Ad.
“When we talked to our National Retailer Advisory Board about this event, their No. 1 priority was that we hear from IGA retailers,” Ross said. “This format allows us to do that in a way we’ve never done before.”
Another important opportunity? Anyone who wants to attend can do so at no cost.
“We’re really excited to be able to reach down into our partner companies and the stores both domestically and globally and engage people who wouldn’t normally have an opportunity to attend a rally, but we’re also excited to get our message out beyond our members,” Ross said. “IGA has a lot to offer right now, and we’re opening the door to anyone and everyone who wants to learn more about the largest group of independent retailers in the world and the brand that supports them. If your business involves grocery retail, this rally is going to benefit you.”
The pandemic has changed so much about the way grocers do business – and also about the way shoppers behave. The IGA virtual rally agenda will provide a deep dive into those behaviors, offer insights into what’s coming next, and provide realistic, tactical ideas for how you can continue to capture increased sales throughout the pandemic and beyond.
“When shopper confidence is low, they retreat to the safe and familiar. In this case, that’s been great news for our local community stores,” Ross says. “Who we are and what we do is more important to shoppers than ever before, and we’ve been given the gift of increased sales because of it. Now, it’s up to us to earn and keep those sales by reinvesting in new programs, services, and ways to tell your local story. This rally provides the blueprint for earning and keeping our sales advantage as we face the uncertainty of the fall and winter, and move into the new normal in the New Year.”
Review the agenda below to learn more about the virtual rally and what you’ll experience during the event.
IGA Global Rally 2020 Virtual Conference Agenda
Sustaining growth beyond COVID
John Ross, president and CEO, IGA Inc. – IGA CEO John Ross shares insights about how COVID-19 has changed shopper behavior with a shift toward local community stores, the lasting impact it will have on our business and the next generation of shoppers, and what we can do to earn and keep the sales we’ve gained through COVID and beyond.
Digital media: is it finally time to let go of the weekly circular?
Heidi Huff, senior director of Red Oval Partnerships, IGA USA; Sarah Rivers, senior manager of program development, IGA USA; and Bob Rybick, president and CEO, Geissler’s Supermarkets – Learn how National Digital Ad 2.0’s new rich media functionality, local ad customization and geo-targeted ad structure are helping independent retailers secure national shopper marketing dollars, promote their local point of difference and engage both new and existing shoppers.
E-commerce: the next frontier for grocery
Sarah Rivers, senior manager of program development, IGA USA and panel of IGA retailers – For independent grocers, the pandemic has moved e-commerce from a “we’ll get to that someday” wish list item to a requirement for staying competitive in the new normal. Learn how you can win with e-commerce as a panel of IGA retailers share insights about the adoption of online shopping during COVID, what works and what doesn’t and the impact e-commerce has had on their shopper loyalty, acquisition of new shoppers, and overall sales.
IGA Leadership Roundtable
John Ross, president and CEO, IGA Inc. and IGA global leadership – Hear from IGA’s global leadership how COVID-19 has impacted everything from their way of life to employee and shopper behaviors, and get predictions for what the future holds for independent grocery retailing around the world.
Using analytics to chart your course in the new normal and Understanding your trade radius
Doug Fritsch, SVP of business development, IGA USA and Shawn Yambor, president of Fairvalue Hometown Foods – Learn how IGA’s new state-of-the-art mobile analytics tools can help you better understand your competition, identify where increased COVID sales are coming from and make simple and affordable improvements that will help you hold on to sales post-COVID.
Improving customer service
Paulo Goelzer, Ph.D., president, IGA Coca-Cola Institute – Improve your customer service experience and build loyalty among new customers gained during the pandemic with new customer service analytics that give qualitative and quantitative views on why a shopper chooses to shop your store.
Driving private label sales: best practices from best-in-class retailers
Robin Groscurth, director of IGA Exclusive Brands, IGA USA – Discover how IGA Exclusive Brand’s new look, visual merchandising and marketing strategies are giving the line new appeal to inspiration-starved home chefs and cash-strapped shoppers alike, and hear from a panel of IGA retailers who are using best-in-class private label practices to drive independents’ traditionally low private label sales to the national average and beyond.
Category makeover: increasing shoppers’ buying confidence
Joel Widmer, senior brand manager, IGA USA and Megan Drazer, IGA marketing specialist, IGA USA – See how best practices for in-store merchandising and online shopper marketing combine to create an omni-channel experience that educates and engages shoppers, making your store their first choice in every category.
Issues to solve for independent grocers in the U.S.
John Ross, president and CEO, IGA Inc. and Greg Ferrara, president and CEO, NGA – Find out from NGA CEO Greg Ferrara what government relationship issues will impact independent retailers as the pandemic and an unstable political climate continue.
Reinvesting for the future: do it now!
John Ross, president and CEO, IGA Inc. – John Ross closes with a call to action for independent retailers to reinvest in their businesses and answers audience questions.
Register now for the IGA Global Rally virtual event, scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 10, beginning at 10 a.m. EST. If the timing doesn’t work for you, don’t worry – all the rally content will be available on the website. So, watch it when it’s best for you, and be sure to invite your team members, friends and colleagues. You don’t have to be an IGA member to benefit from this virtual event. To register, click here.