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Shoppers can now search a shopping centre online to find the product they want

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Visitors to a Leeds shopping centre can now find out in a single search which retailers in the mall stock the products they want.

Debenhams, Topshop, Warehouse and Oasis, flagship tenants at the Land Securities-owned White Rose shopping centre, are the first to sign up to the new service. The service is built on Google Commerce Search and implemented by InventCommerce.

Shoppers planning a trip to the centre can search across the White Rose website for the items they want to buy. The search brings up images of items stocked by different shops in the centre. Viewers can then click through to find the opening hours, address, website and telephone number of the store where the item they are interested in is stocked.

Once in the centre or individual store they can also search using their mobile phone, checking to find alternative products in different shops within the centre.

The search function has features such as Search Instant, which is designed to bring up search results in less than a second. It also allows consumers to narrow down their search results quickly using faceted navigation.

If the service is successful, it could soon be extended to other Land Securities owned shopping centres, says Catherine Thomas, head of retail marketing at Land Securities. “Our aim,” she said, “is to support and deliver added value to retailers in our shopping centres and to support their multichannel strategy. The White Rose shopping centre in Leeds receives thousands of online visitors every day and Google Commerce Search will significantly improve their online experience.

“The retailers involved in this initial scheme will be able to provide a seamless service for customers across online, mobile and in-store. If this trial is successful, we hope to roll out Google Commerce Search across more of our shopping centre websites throughout the year.”

Kevin Ludford, chief executive of InventCommerce, said:
“Google Commerce Search enables users to create fast, unique, location-aware product search experiences for today’s omnichannel consumer, supporting those retailers with a joined up strategy whether the consumer wishes to purchase online or within stores.”

Our view: Applications such as this one seems to consign to history shoppers’ need to walk around shop after shop to find a particular item. It presents an obvious risk for those retailers who cannot join in because their product catalogues and stock availability are not yet joined up. Another reason, then, for retailers to make sure they are moving in the direction of multichannel.

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