Oh someone sent me this:

Progressive Grocer, one of the leading publications for the retail food industry, recently launched a successful virtual trade show and conference in collaboration with IBM. The first-ever virtual symposium for Progressive Grocer, “IBM – Transforming the Store Through Innovation,” brought together top executives from IBM, industry experts such as Phil Lempert, the “SupermarketGuru” and NBC’s TODAY Show food editor; Robert Garf, Vice President, Retail Strategies at AMR Research; and select IBM business partners. Powered by InXpo, the leader in the production and management of online communities and events, the new virtual show offered attendees an innovative and convenient way to hear from industry experts, network and build relationships, and buy and sell products – all while sitting comfortably in their homes or offices. Progressive Grocer is published by Nielsen Business Media.

…but I can’t make head nor tail of it all. It’s really important to get your “barrier to entry” right, but this one is set too high for me. When I resent filling in the sign-up profile form, it doesn’t bode well for the community. YMMV (your mileage may vary), so check it out at IBM Progressive Grocer site. The About might help a little more.

Transforming The Store Through Innovation

Retailers need to keep pace with a rapidly changing marketplace to stay competitive. Shoppers are becoming more sophisticated and expect better, quicker and more customized services tailored to meet their individual needs. They know what they want and expect it to be available how and when they shop. From self-service checkouts to online ordering to information kiosks, today’s customers are finicky and demanding. Smart retailers are embracing the latest technology to meet the needs of the next generation consumer.

IBM, in collaboration with the leading publication Progressive Grocer, is bringing together top executives from IBM, industry experts such as Phil Lempert, the SupermarketGuru and NBC’s TODAY Show food editor; Robert Garf, Vice President, Retail Strategies at AMR Research; and select IBM Business Partners, for its Retail “Transforming The Store Through Innovation” Virtual Symposium & Expo.

Experience a world-class event –without leaving the office
Attendees enjoy all the learning activities a trade show offers right from their computer! No fees. No planes to catch. No hassle. Registration is easy.

Here’s an example of activities that will be available:

  • Hear industry experts share their insights on how innovation is changing today’s progressive retailer for the better.
  • Experience “live” presentations on retail topics such as:
    • The New Checkout Experience
    • Loss Prevention
    • The Shopper Driven Experience
    • Store Employee Productivity
    • Store Infrastructure, Communications & Support
  • Visit virtual exhibits within the five topic areas and find out how IBM Business Partners are addressing each with innovation solutions. Watch webcasts, see product demonstrations, sign up for literature – the same as if you were on a trade show floor.

I seriously doubt IBM has useability experts, certainly not social network ones. Am I being too harsh? There’s a tonne of events tools out there, and social networks that have sprung up around them. I just find it hard to find an events management/virtual expo company that ‘gets’ social networking and implements it fully – sort of meetup/eventfull/upcoming meets Corporate 2.0. Know of any?