Online Mall Targets Manly Men

Reviving a term popularized in the late 1970s by disco group The Village People, Internet Mall Group Inc. plans to launch this Sunday.

Unlike the satirical song “Macho Man,” Macho Mall is seriously trying to appeal to the many sides of male shoppers, promising “No Foof, No Poof, Just Man Stuff!” In case the studly slogan is not enough, the site’s welcome page features the silhouette of a well-built man flexing his muscles. Whether 98-pound weaklings are also allowed to shop at the Macho Mall is unclear.

It’s a Guy Thing

The new site will be ready for shoppers Sunday, according to text on the site, but was not as of press time Friday. It will target male shoppers ages 18 to 65. The mall will initially include 12 primary shopping categories, with three more to be added in mid-September. Shopping areas include “the work shop,” recreational vehicles, computers, “smokes ‘n’ spirits” and others. IMG has enlisted 14 retailers to list their products so far and says it is aggressively pursuing more.

“By targeting the male shopper demographic, provides unique exposure to the largest percentile of online shoppers,” the company says. IMG plans to market the site to both female and male shoppers, pitching it to women as the best place to find the right gifts for husbands, fathers, brothers and others. The company plans to market Macho-Mall on the Internet and in traditional media this fall.

An additional hook is the mall’s “Shopper’s Rewards” program, through which customers can accumulate credit toward future purchases as they buy. The credits can be earned in a different shopping category each month, starting with computers in August, then “The Work Room” in September. Credits range from $5 to $20 depending on the amount of money the shopper spends in that category.

Merchant Benefits

The company plans to handle all sales with its own order processing service, leaving the merchants responsible for fulfilling the orders. By requiring the merchants to list their products on the site, rather than providing a link to the merchant’s own online store, IMG argues it will provide shoppers more exposure to more merchants. Macho-Mall will also pass along to the merchants any buying statistics and other customer information it accumulates.

IMG, founded in May and based in Baton Rouge, La., says it is in the process of developing other online shopping malls as well, but none are available yet. The company also offers bulk e-mailing services.

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