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The rise of the everywhere mall

Jennifer Collins Dec 16, 2011

Steve Chiotakis: Today’s the day thousands of stores are waiving their shipping fees in an effort to get you to browse and spend money at their shops online. Retail sales on the web this holiday season are up 15 percent over last year.

And as Marketplace’s Jennifer Collins reports, retailers are doing whatever they can to bring the mall to you.

Jennifer Collins: Ben Domenech is watching the History Channel at his house in Mount Vernon, Va.

History Channel commercial: Larry the Cable Guy on History.

He’s also shopping.

History Channel commercial: Get ‘er done.

Ben Domenech: And there’s a Cable Guy ‘Git ‘er done’ T-shirt for $24.95 and an ‘I love this Country’ shirt in olive for $24.95.

Domenech passed on the T-shirts, but he could have bought them through his Verizon Fios TV with his remote.

Sucharita Mulpuru is with Forrester Research. She says mobile shopping is expected to bring in $6 billion this year. Still just a slice of e-commerce, but a growing one.

Sucharita Mulpuru: People have more devices, they want to have the convenience and it’s easy.

You’ve probably seen those square black and white codes — they’re called QR codes — popping up everywhere. They allow smartphone users to buy products with a swipe. In November, Sears and Kmart rolled out “shopping walls” with QR codes in airports and movie theaters, so people could buy toys on their way to a plane or to the popcorn counter.

Benjamin Kennedy is with the ad agency Integer Group.

Benjamin Kennedy: Mobile has in effect made traditional media, which was very passive, an interactive experience which can prompt a sale via a mobile device.

But Kennedy says the everywhere mall still has a long way to go. Credit card info is a pain to enter on your phone. Connection speeds can be slow. And just to use a QR code, sometimes you have to download an app.

Kennedy: Which really, really puts that consumer off and makes it harder for that marketer to engage them at a future date.

All of that may have something to do with the fact that Sears told me in an email, the company is “phasing” out its shopping walls — well before the end of the holiday season.

I’m Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.

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