Google’s mobile-first index: how to prepare your business

Mobile traffic has overtaken desktop on the web this year. Google is working on a new, mobile-first web index. These changes mean that it is more important than ever to make the mobile experience as good as possible. Increasingly that means putting mobile first, rather than simply optimizing for mobile.
Certco has been working to transform our existing grocery store sites to mobile-ready.
Read more below about mobile-first index:
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Now What?

It’s still coming, change that is. Yesterday Amazon announced it’s checkout free convenience store which will open in 2017 in Seattle. You can see their video here. There has been a lot of buzz about this throughout the industry the last couple of days. It is pretty impressive technology. Will you see it in widespread use soon? It will probably be a few years before you see that. But there are a couple key points to take from this. One, Amazon, and others, are not going to stop looking for new innovative ways to gain a larger share of the grocery dollar. Two, Think about the possibilities with technology like this! This would revolutionize how retail stores operate. These new innovative technologies are not going to stop coming. If you don’t like change you are living in the wrong era and being in business, retail or otherwise, change is the new normal. As Michael Sansolo  quoted in an article about this in from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” “Things are only impossible until they are not.”

According to a study by ad agency Zenith Optimedia advertising dollars spent on social media will surpass dollars spent on print ads in the next 3 years. This avenue of advertising is available to you through Certco and Placewise Media. Other popular applications such as ecommerce, personalized marketing and instore mobile shopping platforms are available to you by Certco approved vendors. If you want more details visit CART or contact us here at Certco. For details on how CART works click here.


These new ways of doing business are not being developed because nobody wants them, they are being developed because they solve a need for today’s and tomorrow’s consumers. They are not going away.


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(October 28, 2016) Madison, Wis. – Madison-based grocery distributor Certco, Inc. is proud to announce that it will ensure 100% of the eggs it distributes are cage-free by 2025.

Certco, founded in 1930, distributes more than 57,000 items to over 200 independent stores throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and Iowa.

“Nearly every major food company in the country has announced plans to switch to 100% cage-free eggs, and we’re proud to support that transition,” said Justyne Uribe, Certco’s egg buyer. “By 2025, we plan to distribute only cage-free eggs across our system.”

The Humane Society of the United States applauded Certco for its commitment to cage-free egg distribution.

“We welcome the announcement that Certco is going cage-free,” said Matthew Prescott, senior food policy director for The Humane Society of the U.S. “Consumers, scientists, food safety experts and our nation’s largest food companies all agree that the future is cage-free.”



Justyne Uribe, Certco

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What’s Hot!! Trending Categories and Items

There are a couple of categories that are hot right now that you may not expect, milk substitutes especially almond milk and vitamins and supplements. Almond milk is boasting sales growth of 250% over the last 5 years. Also in the category are cashew and soy milk which are also popular. Click HERE to read more. If you have not increased your variety in this category you are losing sales to your competitors. To help you choose the item selection you need contact your retail counselor or Justyne Uribe, Dairy Buyer/Merchandiser.

Full Circle Almond Milk

Vitamins and Supplements; 68% of all US adults are reported to be taking dietary supplements. Don’t let the big box stores and drug stores take all of these sales when you can provide the same variety and probably better pricing. Certco has a number of lines to choose from. Click Here to read more on this, you will need a LinkedIn account to read it, if you don’t have one you can quickly and easily sign up, it’s free. Basically social media for business. A lot of good information out there on LinkedIn. We can help with vitamins also, contact Lisa Porter GM/HBC Specialist, your retail counselor or Mark Papenfuss, HBC Buyer/Merchandiser


Speaking of hot, it will eventually warm up (we hope), now is the time you should get ready and increase your inventory on those spring and summer items. We all know what happens that first nice weekend, by Sunday afternoon the shelves can be pretty bare. Look ahead at the forecast, have extra buns in the freezer if need be, ground beef (some extra chubs in the freezer might come in handy when fresh ground is gone) charcoal etc. If you are out customers will go elsewhere to get their needs.

Happy Selling!

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The Evolving Face of Competition

Shurfine Food Center

We see it every year, a new competitor enters the market to take a piece of the pie. These days the competitors are getting even more diverse, dollar stores, gas stations/convenience, home improvement giants, drug stores, e-commerce and more, they just keep coming. The successful independent supermarket operator has been able to adjust and survive, in some cases thrive. But you have to admit it is getting more and more challenging all the time. Now it’s not just about finding your niche or knowing what your customers want, although those attributes are still important. Now add in the growing technological advances and a new and different generation of customers where many of the old tried and true models do not matter to them, i.e. the Millennial’s.

So let’s look at the newest competitor in our market which may go a little unnoticed because the name is the same, but the players are different.

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Kroger’s purchase of Roundy’s and the Copp’s, Pick N Save and Metro Market banners here in Wisconsin and Mariano’s in Illinois will bring many changes. They have publically announced that Roundy’s customers will see changes in pricing and store infrastructure in the coming month’s. These are things you will easily be able to see. What you probably will not see is the many different ways Kroger customizes promotions to their customers in print and more likely digital formats. Kroger is no slouch, they are the world’s 3rd largest retailer! While retail giants like Wal Mart and Macys are closing stores, Kroger is growing. They are also considered to be the leading example of using new technologies in marketing to customers and learning from the data they receive from that marketing.

So once again it is time to look at your business, continue to do the things that make you successful in your local community. However, do not rest on your laurels, you can’t just sell stuff anymore you must create an experience to keep your customers coming back. The older generations will mostly continue to shop as they have, but they are adapting. The younger generations are not drawn by the same old ways such as price, they do not necessarily mind spending more if they feel they are getting quality, fresh food and it makes their life easier. If you need examples of the landscape changing look not too far back at Blockbuster Video, what have Netflix and others done to that model. The Taxi industry is currently struggling in many cities because of services such as Uber and Lyft. The grocery industry will change whether we want it to or not. Need guidance or have questions on what you could do? Let us know, contact your retail counselor or call us. You do have options and because you are a Certco member we can help guide you to some options that may best fit your needs.

Happy Selling!

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Important Points from January 13 Zone Meeting

If you did not attend the zone meeting on January 13, you missed some important information. Let’s recap two important ones here.


Sales Tax and Sales Tax Audits; Certco has partnered with Avalara. Avalara determines the taxable status of items (tax, no tax, tax rate per item) based on the location of your store. Certco can now provide you with the correct tax status of all Certco items in your store through your host files. This service comes at no cost to the store, it is fully funded by Certco. this free service will also provide SNAP eligibility and WIC eligibility indicators.  Should you be audited by your state Department of Revenue, Avalara through Certco will provide support on those items Certco supplies should the state have a different view of the taxability. Avalara has done the research in every state to determine tax status. In the last budget, the sate of Wisconsin added 106 new tax auditors. Tax auditors are hired to find conflicts and bring in revenue for the state. How can you get started with this service? Contact us, we will set you up to receive the updated information through your host files. Some stores have declined because they would have to change their POS and remove a default tax status when an item is entered into a particular department or sub-department. The tax code is very complicated, items in same sub-department could have different tax status. For the little time it takes to enter tax status manually when manually entering an item, wouldn’t you rather be sure it is correct?

Over the last year, several Certco members have had a sales tax audit from the state. Many have lasted more than a year and have resulted in tens of thousands of dollars in fines, not to mention the time involved from store staff to accommodate the auditor. Can your store afford this? Contact us to learn more. Click on these links to find out more.  Avalara FAQs Avalara MatrixMaster

Certco Meat Logo

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the USDA has released new regulations on maintain accurate records of any official establishments and retail stores that grind raw beef products. In other words, how you keep grinding logs and maintain them for your store. If you are already keeping grinding logs, you are probably not doing enough to satisfy the new rule. If you are not keeping grinding logs you need to start, this is not an option. The purpose is to track foodborne illness to their source. If there was an issue and someone became ill from your ground beef, but the source of that illness was from the beef processor and you did not keep accurate grinding logs so it was not traceable back to the correct processor, you will be held liable. Click on these links for more information. NGA Summary Talking Points Grinder Rule. Contact the Certco Meat Department and they can help you get started.

Happy Selling!






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Technology and Your Store

You have been hearing a lot about technology and retail from Certco and other sources for the last couple of years. Don’t worry, you probably are going to hear a lot more. The rate at which mobile technology is expanding is sometimes overwhelming. Internet traffic from wireless and mobile devices will exceed traffic from wired devices, PCs, by 2016. By 2016? That’s already here!

Technology is the cost of entry for retailers today. Certco is here to help. Certco members are able to come to Certco’s CART portal to seamlessly search for, learn about and connect with solutions appropriate for their stores. Go to and connect with innovation to grow your business.

What are retailers across the country focusing their efforts on currently? Online Shopping/ecommerce and Tablet & Mobile Checkout are the two fastest growing segments now in use. Several Certco members have begun using a mobile checkout application now and more are looking at it. Fewer have taken on ecommerce to date. Both of these applications will be an essential part of your business. If your store is doing both of these you are on the forefront, if you are doing one, great, you are positioning yourself to effectively compete. If you are not planning either you should seriously be thinking about starting! Your competition is. These technologies are no longer something coming in the future, THEY ARE HERE AND GROWING! For more in depth information read CART_Retail_Innovation_Report_2015_02.

If you have questions or are looking for some guidance contact us here at Certco or contact a CART Retailer Solution Manager. There is no cost for this service from CART or Certco. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by exploring the best solutions for your business.


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