Beeland Co-op Goes Online

FTLComm - Tisdale
March 11, 2000

The Beeland Co-op in Tisdale and Arborfield have had their website up for some time but this week they have taken their online presence one giant leap forward as their weekly sale sheet is now online.

Each week the Co-ops, super Store, Extra Foods, Safeway and other retailers publish elaborate sales print material that arrives in your home as inserts in advertising versions of newspapers or in some cases these materials are delivered directly to your home. When these publications come out on Monday or Tuesday the post office waste baskets overflow with the material being taken directly from the mail box and discarded without ever reaching the home.

Despite this retails still need to get their advertising into the hands of consumers and for frugal shoppers judicial reading of these advertising sales pages can save them money as well as help them plan their weekly shopping.

Up until now this has been a matter of rustling through the papers but now for the first time you can sit down at your computer go online and check out the Co-op Sale. To have a look at it just click on the picture on this page or go to Beeland Co-op's web site and click on this week's specials. If you are visiting the web site you can go to the specific store departments and on each page click on the specials for this week from that department.

Larry Parks, general manager of Beeland Co-op has been busy with innovation through out the whole operation and the development of a web site was one of the projects that he thought was important. Only a few Co-op stores have web sites including Maple Creek and Medicine Hat that were among the first to make use of the web as part of their over all marketing and communications tools.

Now after having had the web site up for some time it seems like the right time to begin to make effective use of the site to attract customers to the site and make use of the excellent level of communication that it affords. Faster Than Light Communications set to work transforming the paper version of this week's sale into a web site as the original paper version was scanned, segmented and composed into web ready material.

You might find it interesting to notice the difference there is in using the paper version and the electronic one side by side and notice that things you did not notice on the paper version seem to be
more noticeable on the web
page and that even though the information is the same the affect it has on you is dissimilar. This is what lead media Guru Marshal McLuhan to point out in his popular book "the Medium is the Massage". He had discovered that information presented in print and on screen changed its meaning and affected the viewer so much so that it might imply different reactions with the same image. At the time of his heyday this Toronto academic had a substantial following and television producers liked to toss around the jargon that he created but in affect few people understood what he meant. It wasn't until the coming of the Internet that we could suddenly see what he had been talking about and experience the processing he referred to as "hot" and "cool" media. Now his work and many complex books are important as they show us the changes that are taking place in communications and how those changes affect our actions and reactions.

Being able to access advertisements as information and to keep yourself informed, better able to make good decisions about what you buy makes good sense and this experiment with this sales paper gives us a peek at what might lie ahead. Imagine the individual pictures and items in the sale being linked to their company's home pages with nutritional and quality control information. You could easily read and consider that fine print that tells of the products ingredients and couple that with additional information would give the shopper the ability to make much more informed and appropriate choices. So many people rely upon impulse buying, selecting items that attract them and the manufacturers count on that happening and so package their products to have the most visual impact. Making use of the paper version or electronic version of the sale paper allows the consumer to value and evaluate his or her purchase with more thought and planning thus making their money go further and obtain the best value they can with the money at their disposal.

Both Beeland Co-op and Ensign are interesting in knowing what you think of having the sale online and would really appreciate your input into the process because the what the material is presented could be greatly altered to suit the readers needs. Tell us what you think.