The National Grocers Association (NGA) kicked off the 2013 NGA Show with an Opening General Session highlighting the organization’s achievements, as well as the successes and challenges facing the independent grocery industry.
NGA President & CEO, Peter J. Larkin, discussed the successes of the organization over the past year, including recruitment of 175 new members, a retention rate of 90%, and significant progress in the organization’s Member Value Proposition (MVP) project. Underscoring the association’s relevance to the industry, NGA also announced a number of new initiatives designed to increase value to its membership.
For the first time, NGA will be able to answer the commonly-asked question, “just how big is the independent grocers channel?” Through work with economic research firm John Dunham & Associates, NGA is working to create an interactive website that will allow the industry, public officials, the media and others to see the impact of independent grocers on the nation’s economy. The full report, which is being made possible through support of Mondelez International, the NGA Grocers Research and Education Foundation (GREF), Shelby Publishing and Nielsen, will include the industry’s overall economic impact including sales, jobs, wages and taxes paid, with ability to drill down by state and congressional district.
“Independent grocers play an enormous role in the American economy,” says Larkin. “With this data, our industry will finally be able to quantify its relevance at a district, state, and national level.”
Larkin identified technology as another focus area for the association. Through feedback from the MVP project and the Technology Advisory Committee, and in partnership with Gary Hawkins of Hawkins Strategic, two key initiatives are coming down the pipeline. First, NGA is working with the Center for Advancing Retail & Technology (CART) to bring two new services to NGA members. The NGA InnovationCenter creates a unique environment for retail stores to serve as live learning labs to pilot new solutions, conduct research in partnership with trading partners, and discover in-store marketing and operations best practices. The InnovationCenter has begun piloting its exciting program to bring creative and effective solutions to the independent sector. The NGA SolutionCenter provides an arena for NGA members to assess their current technology position, create a roadmap of technology focus and investments, and guide discovery, evaluation and procurement of solutions.
Additionally, NGA announced a potential game-changer for the independent sector - Personiphi. Unlike large retailers who are able to leverage sophisticated personalized marketing and relationships with CPG manufacturers, independent and mid-market retailers are often at a disadvantage due to the complexity and expense of such technology. Personiphi brings shopper intelligence and personalized marketing capability to NGA members, delivering highly relevant offers to each shopper under the retailer’s brand. Personalized marketing drives basket size, increased shopping trips, and improved retention.
Currently in the proof-of-concept stage, NGA is excited about Personiphi’s ability to help level the playing field for independent retailers given its leadership of experienced industry executives and the technological prowess of Symphony EYC which is helping power up the Personiphi program.