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Las Vegas, NV - 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," said 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. TheNGA 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.
For more information on NGA technology initiatives, visit www.nationalgrocers.org/tech.
NGA Chairman Joe Sheridan, President and Chief Operating Officer of Wakefern Food Corporation, took the stage to address industry trends. Highlighting issues such as competition brick & mortar faces with the evolution of online retail, mobile payments, health & wellness, and the importance of the customer experience, Sheridan also issued two challenges to the NGA membership. First, he invited those present to take member engagement to the next level by sharing ideas and best practices. Secondly, he urged them to get more involved in NGA through participation in Share Groups, Action Alerts, technology initiatives, and educational opportunities.
Sheridan and Larkin also welcomed to the stage Lisa Walsh, Vice President,
Customer Management, PepsiCo, Inc. For ten years, PepsiCo has fervently supported NGA's Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP) at Cornell University. Sheridan presented Walsh with a plaque in recognition of PepsiCo's generous and steadfast support, which has allowed ELDP to become one of NGA's most respected programs.
Headlining the evening's event was a keynote presentation by Former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson and Former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, who were appointed in 2010 by President Barack Obama as co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. This bipartisan commission produced a plan to reduce the Nation's deficits by $4 trillion over the next decade. The plan was supported by a supermajority of the commission with equal support from both Republican and Democrat members.
The Opening Keynote, sponsored by Kraft Foods Group, addressed the national debt crisis, the narrowly-averted fiscal cliff, and the financial challenges facing the country. They also discussed the financial impact of current legislation on independent grocers as business owners.
For photos of today's events, visit photographer Mike Gatty's flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/76352348@N04/collections/72157632604546660/
Or, follow us on social media: Twitter @nationalgrocers #NGAShow13 Facebook: www.facebook.com/nationalgrocersassn
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