Revamp boosts ‘Supermarket News’ Web site

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The leading b-to-b title in the food retailing market, Supermarket News has been a longtime leader in ad pages in the food retailing sector and has been able to maintain a paid circulation of more than 33,000 in a consolidating market. Yet the weekly publication’s Web presence was frozen in time; it had not had a major redesign in more than five years, said Dan Bagan, senior VP at Penton Media and publisher of SN.

On the same day last November that Prism Business Media acquired Penton Media, it also purchased the assets of SN from Fairchild Publications, at that time a sibling division of Condé Nast within Advance Publications.

One of the major reasons Prism, which has since taken the Penton name, picked up SN, Bagan said, was the title’s underdeveloped online business. Almost immediately, the new owner redesigned the SN site,

“We knew this was an interim step,” said Bagan, who accompanied the magazine from Fairchild to its new owner. “We hadn’t made major changes in so long that we knew the full redesign would take time, but we needed to refresh it right away.”

On May 15, the second redesign debuted. “It’s a brand-new platform with completely new functionality,” Bagan said.

Prescott Shibles, VP at the Penton New Media Group, said site traffic was up more than 20% a month after the re-launch. “Subscription revenue broke $10,000 in its first few weeks,” he added.

Shibles said a key feature of the SN site redesign is its paid-subscription premium content. “The site aims to follow the success of sister site,” another Penton paid-subscription site, he said.

The SN site has a mix of free and paid content within a “one stop” content organization structure that allows visitors to quickly locate and access news and research contextually by market and/or topic. One-stop sections include site areas dedicated to produce, bakery, ethnic-specialty, nonfoods, financial, technology-logistics, health-wellness and marketing.

Within each section, premium content is highlighted in a blue-tinted box. The first two paragraphs of each premium story are exposed, and visitors are invited to subscribe. The annual charge for an online-only subscription is $249; print-only is $195. The print-and-online subscription is priced at $249 to encourage the combination.

In the short time since the redesign, “we’re already ahead of where we expected to be revenuewise,” Bagan said. “The initial feedback from advertisers has been consistently positive.”

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