ShoptopiaMallfinder Network LLC

|

Denver-based Mallfinder develops and hosts websites, managesemail-marketing campaigns and coordinates the delivery of brand andretailer content. It created Shoptopia in partnership withForest CityCommercial Management Inc., owner and operator of the mallswhere the site debuted this week: Short Pump Town Center inRichmond, VA and Galleria at Sunset in Henderson, NV.

|

The portal connects shoppers with retailers by merging theconvenience of online shopping with "the fun and excitement of anin-store shopping experience," Dee explains. "It's a gatheringpoint, a place for people to interact."

|

It's also a potential way to keep online shopping from drainingbusiness from traditional stores. US online retail sales thisholiday season will reach $44 billion, a 12 percent increase overlast year, according to a just released report by SucharitaMulpuru, senior retail analyst from Forrester Research.

|

Although that's the slowest growth rate to date, an apparentreflection of the weak economy, shoppers are still enthusiasticabout the Internet. A total of 48 percent of consumers surveyed,compared with 41 percent in 2007, say they can find the best valuesand deals online. Additionally, 36% say they would be more likelyto shop online due to high gas prices, compared with 22 percent whoexpressed the same sentiment last year.

|

Just last month, Mulpuru warned retailers at the 2008Shop.org Annual Summit that it was essential to understandthe ways the web has changed shopping habits. Her message: Unlessretailers embrace innovation, they will lose to onlinecompetitors.

|

Dee says Shoptopia is a way for bricks-and-mortar retailers toturn online shopping from competition to a partnership. Through thewebsite, online users have access to a community of fellow shoppersto share tools, expertise and products reviews and potentiallyreceive discounts and incentives for the brick-and-mortar retaillocations at their local mall.

|

Dee says statistics show 75% of consumers prefer to move fromonline to brick-and-mortar locations if they have the option ofusing more than one channel to shop for goods. "We launchedShoptopia to meet the needs of these consumers and to connect themdirectly with brands and products available locally," he adds.

|

Jane Lisy, vice president marketing for Forest City CommercialManagement, a subsidiary of Forest City Enterprises Inc., says thecompany partnered with Mallfinder because it "embraces thetechnological preferences" of its shoppers. "Shoptopia is one morestep in combining the power of technology and exciting destinationshopping," she says.

|

The site works like other social networks. Users create aprofile and personalize their shopping preferences. Then they havethe option to search, collect and organize favorite products withShoptopia Lists,seek information family and friends in the Talk section and interactwith retailers in categories including women's fashion, men'sfashion, kids, gadgets, home, health & beauty, and eco-green.An optional Shoptopia "Bag It!" button, which can be installed to aWeb browser toolbar, allows users to add things to their Shoptopialists from anywhere on the Web.

|

Dee says the site was built on Drupal, a free and open sourceContent Management Framework that allows the system administratorto create and organize content, customize the presentation,automate administrative tasks, and manage site visitors andcontributors. There's no charge to either the consumer or theretailer to use Shoptopia. However, Dee hopes to monetize the siteby selling ads to retailers.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.