May 26, 2005, 12:00 AM

Rating the benefits and challenges of online malls

When selling at virtual malls, understanding the benefits and the model is key, says Scott Savitz.’s president will share his experience and insights on how retailers can assess the opportunity of virtual malls at Internet Retailer 2005.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor has grown revenues on average 14% month over month since it launched in 2000, partly due to the care it’s taken in how its brand is presented online. That’s why its president, Scott Savitz, now regards one of Shoebuy’s early experiences with online malls as part of an education in online marketing: Because the mall wasn’t set up to allow for deep product categorization, Shoebuy’s dress shoes wound up being presented side by side with an offering of lobsters.

Savitz’s presentation at next month’s Internet Retailer 2005 Conference and Exhibition, “Selling at the Online Malls,” will share what he’s learned about virtual malls and what other retailers should know: what to expect from selling there and how to determine whether the opportunity meets the retailer’s business model. Savtiz will share with retailers insights on how to assess different malls, recognize their value proposition, and determine if it makes sense for them. He’ll address what retailers need to understand about the investment required to participate in an online mall, how to gauge the potential for return, and when to stay away.

“For example, are you being represented in a way that makes sense for you?” says Savitz. He notes that some online malls restrict how products are placed. So if a retailer’s value proposition is a big selection and convenience, it may not be a good fit for a mall venue that’s based solely on price. “When looking at the opportunities with online malls, as important as sales is understanding the benefits,” he says.



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