New Site Helps Brick-and-Mortars Fight Back

As traditional retailers worry over the question of whether to put their wares online or try to duke it out with online stores the old-fashioned way, ShoppingList.com is urging them to use the Internet at least as a marketing tool. ShoppingList.com launched Monday as a resource for people getting ready to go to stores in their communities.

ShoppingList.com says it offers a “comprehensive, current and impartial” database of thousands of local sales and specials. Visitors can search by product, category, store and brand to find information on pricing and special offers in their areas. ShoppingList.com lists more than 250 product categories and 14,000 brands available in 110,000 stores across the country.

Automatic Sale Seeker

Thanks to ShoppingList.com, shoppers can skip searching through newspapers and fliers for the latest deals at local stores — ShoppingList.com says it uses those exact sources for the information it posts online. Listings are updated hourly, and the free resource requires no user registration. If the item a shopper is looking for is not on sale in the area, the site’s Personal Sales Alert service notifies the shopper by e-mail when the product becomes available.

The site will also help shoppers create customized lists to print and take with them when they shop. Shoppers can also get driving directions and street maps to the stores they find online.

While the online sales market is expected to grow to more than $100 billion by 2003, ShoppingList.com cites a Standard & Poor’s Retailing Industry Survey that estimates overall retail sales will total more than $3 trillion by then. ShoppingList.com founder Chao Lam argues that, with 70 percent of Internet surfers still preferring to shop in a physical store, his Web site provides a way for retailers to draw customers. “ShoppingList.com is a fresh, focused marketing and advertising venue for retailers,” Lam said. “Many retailers feel conflicted about creating their own e-commerce sites, because they are concerned about undermining their significant investment in their physical stores.”

However, the site does not make it particularly easy for new companies to get listed, as it is geared primarily for consumers. To apply to be listed on the site, retailers must look to the “Contact Us” page to send an e-mail to the company.

ShoppingList.com is an independent company founded in September 1998 and backed by Brentwood Venture Capital and Venture Strategy Partners. It is based in Sunnyvale, California.

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