Shopping on Location

The way I see it, there are two different kinds of shopping:
1. Planned Shopping – in this case, you have specific stores you want to go to, or even a specific item you’re looking for.
2. Browsing – this is when you’re just walking around with no particular purpose, waiting to see if anything catches your eye.

Planned shopping is pretty easy to accomplish online and in the physical world. It’s easy to get to a store or their website, and once you’re in you can do essentially the same things. You can find mostly the same items and if you want to look around at other things you can browse. But what if you just want to browse around with no particular store in mind. You can do this easily at a mall or on a block with a bunch of stores, but online it’s hard to get the same experience.

Here’s what I’m thinking: an online application that pulls together store urls mimicking real world locations. All you would have to do is pick the location and you would see a floorplan with store names and links. So if you chose Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis you would see the street and links to the Gap, Banana Republic, T-Mobile, Marshalls, Office Depot, and so on. That would be fairly easy to code, it would just be time intensive.

The next step, which would only be possible if stores had rss feeds of their items, would be to actually pull in the items into the application’s floorplan. So you would be looking at a mini online version of the street and you could see that Gap has a couple sweaters you like for $24.99 and Office Depot has a sale on blank DVDs. If you click on any of these items you’re instantly on that site’s shopping cart.

I guess really the only difference from amazon is that what you see would be dictated by the store’s physical location, and it might have a less traditional web interface. I’ll have to think about this one some more.


  1. Maybe we should just make a world online where we can use the products online…what’s the point of having flesh anyway? I suppose we’d have to contact the Sims people on this one…

    - Russ (Jan 4, 2006)

  2. Oh, by the way, I think you could be on to something, but maybe we should hold off on making the internet a giant shopping mall…we’ve already got enough shopping malls we call small towns.

    - Russ (Jan 4, 2006)

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