Monthly Musings - June 2019

Jun 3, 2019

Monthly Musings - June 2019

By Wooga Yoo - Existential pacifist and aesthete…with bad knees

Our VP of Operations has a wild imagination and has great joy for the little things in life. Enjoy “Monthly Musings” where you can get an inside look on Wooga’s thoughts, ramblings, and perspectives. Check back on the first Monday of each month to see what Wooga’s been thinking about. Thoughts are his own.

What goes around comes around.

Informally speaking, we say this to keep peoples’ behavior in check. Meaning that if someone treats others badly, he or she will eventually be treated badly by someone else. In a stricter interpretation, it indicates a return to original status after completion of a defined cycle.

I prefer the second interpretation.

In 2002, PlaceWise Digital (then Mallfinder Network) was a fraction of our current size. And though servicing only 168 shopping centers, we were still the dominant player in the industry.

But then something happened.

The recession that began in 2001 worsened in 2002 after the 9/11 attacks. Budgets shrunk and unemployment rose. In the shopping center industry, many developers took their websites inhouse instead of outsourcing to vendors. Seismic shifts in the industry created massive opportunities for companies like Simon, General Growth, and Westfield. Eventually, these three giants swallowed companies like Urban Retail and The Rouse Company (not to be confused with Rouse Properties) whole.

Bad news for us.

Given the market conditions between 2002 – 2004, we lost more than 50% of our client base, including The Rouse Company and Urban Retail. All told, 60+ clients were gone from our client roster.

So we responded.

The foundation of our business is, and had always been, RetailHub - our publishing platform built for tenant promotion and tenant support. Our focus had always been hyper-local, but the capacity to support national brands and provide regional, geographical or hyper-local programming was always there. To expand our content strategy, we shifted our focus toward national brands and integrated it with blog-like editorial around seasonal trends and buying occasions. Our “content first” mindset, though foreign to many shopping center operators, was inherently aligned with the directional priority of the internet, a huge differentiator between us and any other provider.

The platform and strategy caught investment interest and we were able to build the original core of our personalization engine, matching content to consumers 1:1. Over the next decade, platform usage for retailers grew exponentially as we onboarded more and more shopping centers.

Today, we service over 800 shopping centers, providing tools to create great digital experiences for shoppers. And the 60+ shopping centers mentioned above are again serviced by PlaceWise.

What goes around comes around.

Download the pdf here:
Monthly Musings - June 2019