Wavves "King of the Beach"
by josh keller · Published · Updated
Malls, Internet meeting halfway: ; As shoppers log on, malls push electronic ventures
Charleston Daily Mail January 3, 2000 | THE ASSOCIATED PRESS BUFORD, Ga. – As Americans do more shopping from the convenience of their computers, mall owners are working to make their brick-and- mortar investments doorways to a retail world where Web sites, catalogs and stores converge.
The expansion of Internet retailing this holiday season spooked some mall operators who are worried about potential losses as more consumers shop online instead of strolling through malls.
The issue was brought to the forefront in November when one mall owner, Hycel Properties of St. Louis, banned Internet advertising from the Saint Louis Galleria. Hycel did a quick turnabout after a tenant threatened to sue.
Analysts say Hycel merely expressed publicly what many retailers fear privately – a shift in traffic from malls to the Internet could decimate profits.
Others contend that owners and developers have already begun adapting by transforming malls into diverse centers that sell themselves not just as retail centers but recreation destinations. web site lenox square mall
One of the Southeast’s biggest malls, the 1.7 million-square- foot Mall of Georgia near Atlanta, offers a sporting goods store with a rock-climbing wall, IMAX movie theater and ice rink.
The mall’s owner, Simon Property Group of Indianapolis, has been among the most aggressive at incorporating Internet commerce into its long-term strategy.
Simon, the nation’s biggest mall operator, has formed a subsidiary, clixnmortar.com, to develop new Internet ventures for retailers and plans to begin wiring its 176 malls next year for high- speed Internet access, allowing stores to add multimedia kiosks, Web videocasts and other marketing tools.
Clixnmortar.com, which is based in Chicago, is founded on the premise that soon “people will be online all the time,” president Melanie Alshab said.
“We believe it’ll be a very effective way for people to shop,” she said of the merger of cyber and retail spaces. lenoxsquaremall.net lenox square mall
Clixnmortar.com began testing its first online product, FastFrog.com, in November at two suburban Atlanta properties, Mall of Georgia in Buford and Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth.
FastFrog.com offers teen-agers a way to make electronic gift registries by scanning products at eight mall stores with a handheld “zapstick” after they register at a kiosk dubbed the “frog pond.” The service then loads the list onto the user’s personal Web page, which clixnmortar.com hosts for free. The users also can link products from 24 other retailers’ Web sites into FastFrog.com.
The company, which promotes FastFrog as a way for kids to “wish louder,” had 7,760 youngsters registered by Christmas.
Many are like 13-year-old Christine Morahan, who was so giddy about zapping clothes at the Mall of Georgia’s Abercrombie & Fitch outlet that she began jumping up and down.
“She’s going to zap everything because she wants everything,” said Christine’s mother, Audrey Morahan.
“Is there a toy store I can zap in?” Christine’s 8-year-old sister Erica asked manager Marlo Oliver. The answer, sadly, was not yet.
Clixnmortar’s other venture, YourSherpa.com, began in mid- December at Lenox Square mall in Atlanta and is targeted at adults, Alshab said.
The concept is to eliminate the need for purchasers to wait in a check-out line and schlep shopping bags through the mall.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Writer / co-founder