It's a C, C, C, C-Store World
Industry social media site launches
By Linda Abu-Shalback Zid
FREDERICKSBURG, Va. -- It has been less than two weeks, but the creator of a new convenience-store-specific social media website says the site is adding new members at a rate of about 15 per day—mostly through word of mouth. Wes Stone, who is also the president of Fredericksburg, Va.-based Ultimate Sales and owns Out of the Box Brands (the company that officially owns the site), told CSP Daily News that even more remarkable is that the roughly 300 current members have sent invitations to 4,400 other people to join.
Other stats so far include that the average person is on the site for 28 minutes, and the average number of page views is 19. Many members sign on at least once a day, except on weekends, which Stone said is exactly what he wanted. "It's Monday through Friday, just like your job," he said. "I want people to use this as a business tool and not for everything else."
Stone said he created the site, www.mycstoreworld.com
, because he felt communication in the industry was "just not good." Features of the website include category-specific sections, RSS (real simple syndication) feeds for news about the industry, links to other social media sites, "My Page" ability for members to create their own billboards, groups and discussions.
Mycstoreworld.com stories so far include one member who immediately was contacted by several people she hadn't talked to in 10 years after signing up. Also, a retailer created a group for choosing a coffee program, starting with proposals being submitted on the site. Once a program was selected, the cup company, graphics company and others were invited to the discussion. The retailer told Stone that it took a job that would have meant at least 100 e-mails and 10 to 12 business days to less than 10-total e-mails and a three-day process.
As for the cost, Stone said creating the site and a similar site specifically for use at Ultimate Sales has cost $100,000 to $125,000, largely due to the manhours to aggregate the initial information. He said some of the cost is being offset by advertisers who have approached the company. Ultimate Sales is also paying the $250 to $1,000 it costs to advertise on the site, because Stone wants the site to be "very, very careful not to be biased in any way."
If the site continues to take off, Stone said he will look at adding plan-o-gram, reverse-auction and collaborative-workspace features. "We all do the same thing, so put this all on the same page and same world and same conversation." Click here to see the full report!