Like Milo before it, Wishpond launched in late 2010 to build a local search engine that aggregates realtime inventory and product listings from brick and mortar retail stores — from big chains to mom and pop shops. The startup has since focused its efforts on developing social commerce solutions for retailers, launching tools like Social Store, which allows any business to quickly create and deploy a storefront for their businesses on Facebook.
While Wishpond, like so many others, is looking to capitalize on the growing interest in social commerce, its solutions have really been developed as means by which to expand on its core competency: Consumer-facing product aggregation and search for retailers. And today, Wishpond is leveraging its technology for the sake of a segment underserved by eCommerce solutions: Shopping malls, launching Mall360, a service that enables malls and shopping centers to offer their shoppers a browsable, searchable product discovery app that works across their Web, social, and mobile properties
As eCommerce solutions mature, more and more consumers are doing their shopping online, from start to finish. However, while 90 percent of shopping begins online today, the majority of people still prefer to buy products live, in local stores, rather than online. For the most part, shopping malls are still in a past decade when it comes to their approach to eCommerce, even though customers continue to visit their stores when they’re ready to buy.
Mall360 gives shopping malls a way to increase their visibility online in a way that lets them better understand and influence potential customers while they’re in the process of making their purchasing decisions, while they’re searching, talking about products with friends, and planning their next excursion to the mall.
For outlets that may house dozens of brick and mortar retail stores, Mall360 lets visitors search and browse through all the products found at the shopping center through visiting the mall’s Facebook page and clicking on a “Shop Our Stores” button, for example.
To enable this cross-platform service, Wishpond is leveraging RetailConnect, its scalable platform that imports, aggregates and processes large volumes of product data from websites, point of sales systems, and eCommerce platforms. It then uses this data, along with its search and publishing capabilities to enable malls to instantly deploy its product discovery app on their mobile and desktop websites, mobile apps, and Facebook pages.
The goal is to be able to give consumers an easier way to search for and discover products at their favorite local retailers, while in turn, giving retailers the ability to boost social interaction, traffic and both website and social engagement. According to the Wishpond team, malls can choose to deploy some or all of the components of its solution, and over the next few weeks, participating outlets will begin to deploy the solution across their digital properties.