CHICAGO (FNS) -- Executives at IGA here say that they believe so strongly in the Web, and the future of electronic commerce, that the independents' alliance is developing Web pages for each IGA store.
Although IGA Inc. provides a site for consumers, and some individual IGA stores have their own sites set up by IGA, many stores do not have a Web page or Internet access.
By early February, each store will have a Web page, linked to IGA's main page, igasupermarkets.com, that will provide basic information on the store. The information will include a locator map, events at the store, a "Kid's Corner," community programs for shoppers, and national IGA promotions. Shoppers will also be able to register to enter a $100 shopping spree contest for each store every month on IGA's main site.
Each store site will also feature targeted offers called U-pons that are provided by Planet U. When a shopper visits the site and completes a customer profile, or provides a frequent-shopper number, Planet U provides these targeted offers.
Offers selected by shoppers can be redeemed either by presenting frequent-shopper cards in the store or by presenting coupons mailed to a shopper's home.
For now, IGA's individual store sites will be "basic," for a reason. "We want to keep it simple at first. We'd rather have something simple that works good and add to that," said Valerie Wold, Web solutions manager with IGA.
IGA stores that want to add Web pages and additional features, such as on-line shopping, can do so at their own expense.
Some of IGA's U.S. stores have also opted to add electronic commerce to their Web offerings. These include
Newport Avenue Market IGA Plaza in Bend, Ore., recently signed up with Fulgent Technologies' egrocer.com to begin offering on-line shopping in the second quarter of this year. At Newport Avenue's site, consumers will be able to choose to shop. That choice will take them to egrocer.com, which will have a database of all products sold at the store. Shoppers can choose the items they want, and many are prepared in advance, including deli trays. Items are picked up at the store. A "history" of shoppers' purchases will be developed, so they can use their "shopping list" the next time they visit the site.
The entry into e-commerce was relatively economical, according to store owner Rudy Dory, because he signed a four-year deal. Even though he does not know how many shoppers will be interested in on-line shopping, Dory said he wanted a long-term commitment. "Even if we're not successful, the expense factor is not outlandish." he said.
Dory said that, by the second quarter, all the store's advertising, bags, business cards and receipts will include the store's URL and information on shopping on-line.
Although Newport Avenue Market will only offer pick-up for on-line orders when the service starts, Dory will consider delivery later if there is enough demand.
Schaper's IGA Plus in Jackson, Mo., allows on-line shoppers to order customized and premade deli trays, ranging from $14.95 to $59.95 each, and to pick them up at the store. Orders -- required to be made 24 hours in advance -- are confirmed with a phone call from the store, and the total amount due is told to the shopper at the time. The store's site also features monthly coupons good only at the store.
Ocean Shores IGA in Ocean Shores, Wash., lists daily deli specials on its site. Shoppers can choose the amount of entree, salad or other dish they want to order and either fax or e-mail a form to the store.