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Virtual Global Rally Encourages Independents To Embrace Opportunities

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IGA's John Ross, top left, and Leigh Engelbrecht with ADvay.

The Independent Grocers Alliance held its annual Global Rally virtually Tuesday from Geissler’s Supermarkets IGA in Somers, Connecticut. The popular event offered content for everyone in the grocery industry – from part-time seasonal workers to store owners, wholesalers, vendors and beyond.

IGA President and CEO John Ross served as the emcee, covering topics such as e-commerce, cybersecurity and analytics, to name a few.

The Global Rally content is tailor-made for all independent retailers – IGA members or not – to overcome challenges and embrace opportunities to differentiate and succeed.

Many of the discussions took place in the aisles to show the IGA programs in action. The following topics were covered:


Meet IGA International Retailer of the Year Bob Rybick

Ross and Bob Rybick, president and CEO of Geissler’s Supermarkets IGA and 2019 International Retailer of the Year, shared insights about how COVID-19 has changed shopper behavior with a shift toward local community stores.

They also discussed programs that have helped Rybick and his team through the past two years, including e-commerce, IGA’s digital circular and “Local Equals Fresh” branding and signage.


How local equals fresh drives sales

With shoppers craving local produce, meats and goods, grocers must create a point of difference that helps them stand out from chain competition while supporting shoppers and communities.

An in-store session, “Local Equals Fresh,” showed how branding drives sales through various platforms – from in-store QR codes that link to digital ads, stickers that tell shoppers what was made in-house and opportunities to highlight local partnerships on social media. 

Of the Local Equals Fresh Visual Merchandising Kit, which can also be customized, Ross said: “Comp store increases when you put those signs up, somewhere between 150-250 basis points, some as high as 300, and sustained comp increases…it seems to be a gift that continues to give.”


Challenges, opportunities for independent grocers during COVID and beyond

What lasting impact will the pandemic have on independent retailers’ businesses and the next generation of shoppers? How can we earn and keep the sales we’ve gained?

Ross addressesd the challenges and opportunities for independent grocers now and post-COVID, while sharing the strategy IGA has developed to drive sales and educate retailers on shopper trends.

Ross predicts that the 2021 global sales forecast will be about $43 billion. He mentioned growth across the U.S. and globe will continue next year.

“We will add a new chain in China, we’ve got some new stores in the Caribbean; hopefully, Puerto Rico comes along online before the end of the year,” he said. “But one of the biggest, positive news is the growth domestically.

“IGA will have yet again one of the largest growths of new stores coming into the IGA franchise in the history of the chain.”

The net store count is predicted to rise by nearly 1,300 before the end of 2022.


Beating national competitors through e-commerce

In this session, participants saw firsthand the value e-commerce has delivered to Geissler’s shoppers during the pandemic, and how it has helped the company’s stores compete with nearby national chains.

From picking to the delivery process, they learned how it worked and how other retailers can get shoppers engaged in using e-commerce programs.


How to save money with market analysis

Grocery store owners used to live and breathe by their weekly print ad, but times have changed. While there may still be a place for print, retailers must assess the effectiveness of all their media investments.

Those who tuned in learned how IGA’s Market Analysis delivers a product that illustrates where money is wasted and where retailers can invest in more effective and efficient advertising – thereby saving money – while attracting more shoppers to stores in person and online. 

Ross spoke with Leigh Engelbrecht, president of analytics company ADvay, which was acquired by IGA this year (now IGA Analytics and Media Services).


A minute with Bozzuto’s: Supply issues & private label

With supply issues impacting everything from prices to stock, shoppers and retailers are stressed. What’s a retailer to do?

In this session, participants heard from Bozzuto’s EVP George Motel as he shared how the company has worked with retailers to overcome supply chain issues ranging from national brands to IGA exclusive brands. 

The recording of the IGA Global Rally can be viewed at www.iga.com/2021-virtual-rally-live-stream.

Much of the above information came from IGA’s website. Content creator Eric Pereira contributed to this article.

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