Shops.com, which started early last year as a virtual strip mall for consumers, will relaunch next month as an e-business portal for small and niche retailers looking to establish a presence on the Web. Newly appointed CEO William Collum will oversee the transition for the Austin, Texas-based technology firm, which builds e-storefronts for small to mid-size businesses.
Collum said the company will refocus its efforts on facilitating business-to-business transactions between member retailers. Shops.com originally functioned as a kind of “strip mall” counterpart to the “upscale galleria” of sister site Mall.com, a shopping and entertainment supersite featuring anchor tenant retailers like Neiman Marcus, the Gap and Eddie Bauer. Collum was formerly chief technology officer for Mall.com, which is also based in Austin. The sites split last October.
In coming months, Shops.com will be folded into a new e-business portal called Market.com, according to Collum.
When Market.com launches later in the year, e-tailers within the Shops.com network will gain access to many more potential customers. “Small to midsize businesses can now participate in supply chains they’ve never had access to before,” said Collum.
Shops.com generates revenue by collecting “rents” from business tenants or by receiving a portion of the fees charged for e-commerce transactions.
Collum said the spin-off from Mall.com reflects the “very different personalities” of the two sites. “Mall.com has more Hollywood-type buzz around it, while Shops.com is more conservative,” he said.
With a new focus of providing back-end services, Collum said he hoped to bring the company’s services to an even wider customer base by offering more ways for vendors and business-to-business customers to connect with one another.
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