By Mitchell Brandt
With 206.2 million Internet users in the United States, it’s easier than ever to stay connected. And for independent grocers across the nation, there’s a tool that makes sharing ideas, inciting discussions and learning from others just as simple.
Welcome to the Independent Grocer Network (IGN). Powered by the National Grocers Association, IGN brings together people working in every aspect of the independent grocer industry. Users are connected to peers across the nation to share stories of success (as well as failure), new best practices and other innovative discoveries that will help the industry grow stronger.
A major point of differentiation for IGN is the role the moderators of the website play. Whereas some networking sites bring people together and then say, “Here— now play nice,” the folks who run IGN take an active role in starting conversations and inviting people to join in with their opinions. These interactions are occurring through blogs, live chats and wall postings. However, it’s not just online. Joseph Tarnowski, the senior editor of Progressive Grocer, will be utilizing phone conversations as well as meet-ups at National Grocer Association events to build a tight-knit community.
Independent grocers are facing a whole new set of challenges not faced by previous generations. The economy is forcing customers to look for the lowest prices and move their attention away from service and overall shopping experience—two areas in which independent grocers used to thrive and consistently beat out the big guys. Having a tool such as IGN can prove to be invaluable. It’s easy to imagine an idea working in one area of the country quickly spreading when given the proper voice and reach.
This sort of coming together is exactly what our sister company, CultureWaves®, have been keeping an eye on. Those experts have been tracking how different groups are using the limitless resources afforded by the Internet to come together in new ways to share ideas and advice. Specifically they’ve reported on such behavior in their We Are Family™ and Virtual Merge™ categories. Both of these areas highlight how people are creating their own communities and adapting the Internet to their specific needs.
The folks involved in IGN saw a need to create a new tool to connect those involved in the independent grocer industry. Meeting every so often at conventions and through conference calls wasn’t enough. Now the users can connect whenever, wherever, and as often as they’d like. By having a network dedicated to their specific needs, instead of ones that seek to bring together anyone and everyone, IGN proves to be a much more powerful force.
Visit the site today to create your own profile and get in on the discussion. You’ll find forums, blogs, events calendars, multimedia, groups, apps and notes. See how being a part of IGN can help you learn and grow in this dynamic field.