As we pass our 1,000th member on the Independent Grocer Network (who happened to be Eddie Owens, director of communications and public relations for United Supermarkets, Lubbock, Texas), I’d like to thank our members for their support and contributions to the success of the site.
For those of you not familiar with the site, the Independent Grocer Network launched officially just over a year and a half ago as an exclusive platform on which independent grocers, wholesalers, and related industry executives can share information and multimedia and where they could learn from their best sources of information available – each other.
The membership consists of approximately 55 percent retailers and wholesalers, with the remaining 45 percent made up of industry association members (including NGA, IGA, and FMI), university staff and students, consultants and industry experts, and suppliers. Many members are key industry players that are heavily involved in industry events, such as Brookshire Grocery Co., D’Agostino’s, The Fresh Grocer, Unified Grocers, Coborns, Mi Pueblo Food Center, Newport Avenue Market, and Schnucks, just to name a few.
Content is primarily member-supplied, and consists of blogs, discussion forums, multimedia (including photos and videos), and custom groups around certain industry-specific topics.
We’ve made some changes over the past year to make the site more user-friendly. First, we have driven most of the activity to the home page and left only the most active content-specific subgroups on the network. Since you are all familiar with Facebook, and how most of the activity happens on the home page, we wanted to give you a similar feel so new users can get started posting without any handholding.
IGN is also now completely mobile! The platform has optimized every page for mobile devices of all kinds. The first screen you will see if you enter the network from a mobile device is the latest activity screen, which summarizes all of the activity that happens anywhere in the site. Clicking posts in the latest activity module will bring you to mobilized versions of their respective landing pages.
From the menu on the first screen, you can also jump to the blog, forum, and multimedia modules, which each show up as individual pages on your mobile device. Now you can keep the discussion going no matter where you are.
To this point, I’d like to encourage anyone who is not a member to sign up, and if you are a member, to continue remaining active on the network. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because of the network’s size, someone else will always post something. The best way to boost activity is to be active yourself. Bounce some ideas across other members to test their validity! Post some pictures of your new store! Post a video of a cooking demo. I’d sure love to see them, and I’m sure other members would agree.