Portals Partner To Form Online Mall For Women

Women’s online portal iVillage (Nasdaq: IVIL) announced today that it will partner with eight brand-name retailers to launch a women’s shopping service.

The partners will bring together both online and offline brands, including Gap.com, Garden.com, Macys.com, Nordstrom.com, Gloss.com, Petopia.com, PlanetRx.com and Tavolo. The program will also include iVillage’s iBaby and iMaternity.

The program, to be known as Shopping Solutions, extends a new trend among e-tailers that gathers brand-name retailers into mall-like Web shopping sites. The target consumer is presented with a mix of known product lines in a convenient one-stop Web site with advanced Net-savvy customer service.

“We’ve seen that women on the Internet are not excited about the process of finding the right store,” iVillage COO Allison Abraham told the E-Commerce Times. We looked at our categories and selected a group of targeted retailers who can give our customers what they need in a single, simple, trusted environment.”

$36.1 Million in Sponsorships

The iVillage sponsorship agreements with these retailers total $36.1 million (US$). More than $21.1 million comes from new sponsorship agreements with the retailers, and the remaining $15 million comes through an existing agreement with PlanetRx.com that was announced last month. The terms of the agreements extend up to three years.

With Shopping Solutions, iVillage will create a new section that will appear prominently on the iVillage home page, providing daily “Members Only” specials. The specials will showcase products from the iVillage partners as well as products from iBaby and iMaternity.

The Shopping Solutions retail program and the accompanying partnerships are designed to provide the retailers with a means to reach a large targeted audience of women shoppers online. While the retailers are looking to expand their customer base, iVillage is attempting to take advantage of the opportunity to present a range of brand-name product lines at one site just before the holiday season launches.

“We believe our partnership with iVillage will enhance our offerings by placing our products in a co-branded environment with a brand that has a deep, meaningful and trusting relationship with women,” said Dan Nordstrom, chief executive of Nordstrom.com.

Keep It Simple

iVillage’s Shopping Solutions is part of trend among e-tailers to keep the 1999 Internet holiday shopping season simple for the consumer. “Women love to shop, but they are often too busy to search through all the different locations for the different products they need and want,” said Candice Carpenter, chief executive officer of iVillage.

“As shopping environments get more cluttered, we have developed a Web-based resource that can solve those shopping hassles for women and simplify their lives,” Carpenter added. “We have partnered with a highly selected group of retailers who collectively can offer women goods and services they’re likely to buy on the Internet, and we’ve organized them into a single, simple environment.”

About iVillage

Based in New York, iVillage provides support and shopping for women between 25 and 54. The site includes areas that offer peer support and online access to experts, as well as shopping for clothes, books, travel, pets, health and financial services.

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