Our City Online

Shopping

Three big Columbus-based retailers discover the Web

Walker Evans Walker Evans
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

 

The Dispatch wrote 3 big retailers discover the World Wide Web 

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

BY MARLA MATZER ROSE

Three Columbus-based retailers seem to have realized that this Internet thing is more than a fad.

DSW, Big Lots and the company that’s keeping “The Limited” name alive have all begun selling online within the past four months. The moves come several years after a majority of their chain-store peers starting selling in the virtual world.

The Limited started selling on the Internet in September. Shoe retailer DSW, which opened its first store in 1991, launched its e-commerce site in June. Discounter Big Lots has been outperforming retailers of almost every stripe with its off-price and closeout deals. This week, the retailer rolled out an e-commerce site for the first time, with a “Deal of the Day” feature.

READ MORE

Print Friendly

Tags:

28 Responses to Three big Columbus-based retailers discover the Web

  1. Drew October 22, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am

    It’s funny to wonder what percentage of the goods sold on the Big Lots site will cost more to ship than the purchase price.

  2. MikeReed
    MikeReed October 22, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am

    I know that Big Lots! has quite an extensive, advanced Java based (last time I heard) software engineering department.

  3. JonMyers October 22, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am

    Good for them. It looks like both DSW and Big Lots gets significant traffic. The DSW site looks really nice and respectful of human visitors. The Big Lots site looks like an inexperienced marketing lead was in the room and said “I want to recreate the in-store experience”, which is to say – it’s a F’n mess. Hope they clean that up because that design is leaving money on the table.

  4. JonMyers October 22, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am

    MikeReed wrote I know that Big Lots! has quite an extensive, advanced Java based (last time I heard) software engineering department.

    LOL – something going on over there… Wow.

    http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z75/kalimandir/big.jpg

  5. MikeReed
    MikeReed October 22, 2008 2:10 pm at 2:10 pm

    You have to wonder what the return is on developing something like a forklift driving game-vertisment for the Big Lots site. Is there actual utility in this?

    Seems like a extraordinary waste of time/energy/effort that will add nothing to the bottom line.

    Maybe they are making the jump from JSP to .NET (aspx)… not sure.

    I wonder why you have to join. Seems counter to the sensibility of folks who do Internets shoppin’ these days. I ran across that and after 5 microseconds closed the tab and realized I could forever cross off the BigLots! shopping experience from my list of things to do before I died. There is nothing they have that a deal on is worth the time of joining something.

    Yeah- WTF on the typepad blog for their product discussions. Seems kinda bush league, but hey- maybe BigLots! is crazy like a fox. Why spend in house development dollars on this if a typepad blog works… but then there is thos stupid games they wasted time on. It doesn’t add up.

    You know what would be interesting? Form a squatter community on the product discussion pages. Get everyone to join and see if we can approximate a discussion forum there or some other kind of social network…

    Lastly, software projects with legacy systems can be terribly complicated and difficult to port… then add politics, business, and such- it is a wonder anything gets done by anyone. So, no telling what kind of horror show is going on behind the scenes there in terms of being able to write good software.

  6. JonMyers October 22, 2008 4:48 pm at 4:48 pm

    MikeReed wrote You have to wonder what the return is on developing something like a forklift driving game-vertisment for the Big Lots site. Is there actual utility in this?

    Seems like a extraordinary waste of time/energy/effort that will add nothing to the bottom line.

    Maybe they are making the jump from JSP to .NET (aspx)… not sure.

    I wonder why you have to join. Seems counter to the sensibility of folks who do Internets shoppin’ these days. I ran across that and after 5 microseconds closed the tab and realized I could forever cross off the BigLots! shopping experience from my list of things to do before I died. There is nothing they have that a deal on is worth the time of joining something.

    Yeah- WTF on the typepad blog for their product discussions. Seems kinda bush league, but hey- maybe BigLots! is crazy like a fox. Why spend in house development dollars on this if a typepad blog works… but then there is thos stupid games they wasted time on. It doesn’t add up.

    You know what would be interesting? Form a squatter community on the product discussion pages. Get everyone to join and see if we can approximate a discussion forum there or some other kind of social network…

    Lastly, software projects with legacy systems can be terribly complicated and difficult to port… then add politics, business, and such- it is a wonder anything gets done by anyone. So, no telling what kind of horror show is going on behind the scenes there in terms of being able to write good software.

    Yeah, I definitely get the legacy piece. Seen enough of that in my day. I’m sure there are 15 competing agendas that resulted in that jsp/ asp hodge podge. The typepad piece… Wow.. why not spring to have the enterprise version hosted on their own domain?? I’ve never seen something that jahnky by such an established company. So strange.

    My favorite comment on the drill:

    Next exciting deal??? An Enema Bag?

    The fact that you have to register to look at products is pretty retro.

  7. MarkedByTemerity October 23, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am

    I bet their employees still use beepers :-P

  8. midislut
    midislut October 23, 2008 8:53 am at 8:53 am

    MarkedByTemerity wrote I bet their employees still use beepers :-P

    no, we don’t. we’ve moved on to cell phones with battery backpacks.

    seriously though, this company makes money and during economic times like these the business flourishes, despite the techy critiques that have been posted. customers like a good deal and most could care less how cool the website is.

    just sayin’

  9. Cyclist October 23, 2008 9:07 am at 9:07 am

    The interactive 3D store map was pretty cool to play with for a minute. Here is another example of stores that don’t have an inner city presence.

  10. midislut
    midislut October 23, 2008 9:12 am at 9:12 am

    Cyclist wrote The interactive 3D store map was pretty cool to play with for a minute. Here is another example of stores that don’t have an inner city presence.

    how many 30,000 sq ft. properties are available in the inner city? can you clarify? would LA, Miami, Chicago count?

  11. JonMyers October 23, 2008 9:26 am at 9:26 am

    midislut wrote
    MarkedByTemerity wrote I bet their employees still use beepers :-P

    seriously though, this company makes money and during economic times like these the business flourishes, despite the techy critiques that have been posted. customers like a good deal and most could care less how cool the website is.

    Agreed. The stores and sites will make money. I’m sure they are. With regards to the site my point is – if you can’t find something, if the site is unusable (it is in my opinion) then I’m not sure how you can sell something that people can’t find. You won’t sell as much. That doesn’t make business sense to me.

  12. Anne Evans
    Anne October 23, 2008 9:30 am at 9:30 am

    I hope DSW starts putting their handbags and maybe some of their other offerings online too.

  13. midislut
    midislut October 23, 2008 9:36 am at 9:36 am

    JonMyers wrote
    midislut wrote
    MarkedByTemerity wrote I bet their employees still use beepers :-P

    seriously though, this company makes money and during economic times like these the business flourishes, despite the techy critiques that have been posted. customers like a good deal and most could care less how cool the website is.

    Agreed. The stores and sites will make money. I’m sure they are. With regards to the site my point is – if you can’t find something, if the site is unusable (it is in my opinion) then I’m not sure how you can sell something that people can’t find. You won’t sell as much. That doesn’t make business sense to me.

    the site has been up for about a year now and it’s still a work in progress so all i can say is keep an eye on it, it’s really been a boost for sales. also keep in mind that the ultimate goal is to get customers into the stores, as the vast majority of sales are driven from that.

    due to the nature of the closeout business it’s not possible to post every deal since some are regional and may not be available in all stores.

  14. Cyclist October 23, 2008 1:48 pm at 1:48 pm

    midislut wrote
    Cyclist wrote The interactive 3D store map was pretty cool to play with for a minute. Here is another example of stores that don’t have an inner city presence.

    how many 30,000 sq ft. properties are available in the inner city? can you clarify? would LA, Miami, Chicago count?

    The Medary School is 40,000 sq feet.

    Borden Building 52,842 m²

    James Cancer Hospital 24,898 m²

    Capitol Tower Place (proposed) 88,257 m²

    Rhodes Tower 111,483 m²

  15. midislut
    midislut October 23, 2008 2:25 pm at 2:25 pm

    Cyclist wrote
    midislut wrote
    Cyclist wrote The interactive 3D store map was pretty cool to play with for a minute. Here is another example of stores that don’t have an inner city presence.

    how many 30,000 sq ft. properties are available in the inner city? can you clarify? would LA, Miami, Chicago count?

    The Medary School is 40,000 sq feet.

    Borden Building 52,842 m²

    James Cancer Hospital 24,898 m²

    Capitol Tower Place (proposed) 88,257 m²

    Rhodes Tower 111,483 m²

    point taken but i’m not sure what you’re looking for. are you saying that just because there are spaces to fit a store in the downtown columbus area (i thought you were speaking about the country as a whole) that one should be placed there regardless of whether or not it would be profitable? every retailer has criteria that has to be met to build a store. if one or all of those criteria aren’t present then it doesn’t happen. they do have a business to run. i don’t think it’s anything personal against inner cities.

  16. Cyclist October 23, 2008 2:33 pm at 2:33 pm

    midislut wrote
    Cyclist wrote
    midislut wrote
    Cyclist wrote The interactive 3D store map was pretty cool to play with for a minute. Here is another example of stores that don’t have an inner city presence.

    how many 30,000 sq ft. properties are available in the inner city? can you clarify? would LA, Miami, Chicago count?

    The Medary School is 40,000 sq feet.

    Borden Building 52,842 m²

    James Cancer Hospital 24,898 m²

    Capitol Tower Place (proposed) 88,257 m²

    Rhodes Tower 111,483 m²

    point taken but i’m not sure what you’re looking for. are you saying that just because there are spaces to fit a store in the downtown columbus area (i thought you were speaking about the country as a whole) that one should be placed there regardless of whether or not it would be profitable? every retailer has criteria that has to be met to build a store. if one or all of those criteria aren’t present then it doesn’t happen. they do have a business to run. i don’t think it’s anything personal against inner cities.

    I agree with you.

  17. heresthecasey October 23, 2008 3:07 pm at 3:07 pm

    midislut wrote point taken but i’m not sure what you’re looking for. are you saying that just because there are spaces to fit a store in the downtown columbus area (i thought you were speaking about the country as a whole) that one should be placed there regardless of whether or not it would be profitable? every retailer has criteria that has to be met to build a store. if one or all of those criteria aren’t present then it doesn’t happen. they do have a business to run. i don’t think it’s anything personal against inner cities.

    I think that a lot of stores could build profitable locations in the inner city but in most cases that would mean higher costs in the design/build phase because they would have to abandon their “big box in sea of parking”, or their generic strip mall design motif for a site-specific plan that fits with the neighborhood. I think they see the added costs associated with doing that as outweighing the benefits of having a store in the area.

    Also in the inner city there are old industrial sites where they can build a suburban-type center that serves inner city residents. Lennox, the Lowes center off hudson are examples. But again, the cleanup required from it being an old industrial site can add costs that outweigh the benefits of opening a store there to corporations. Anyone seen any movement/talk over about milo-grogan in a while?

  18. gobluegirl October 23, 2008 4:49 pm at 4:49 pm

    from the map it looks like there are 7 Big Lots stores inside the 270 outerbelt. It also looks like they are located in higher density, middle class areas where people would probably shop at big lots. I don’t understand the need for one more big lots within the downtown area when there are already that many nearby.

  19. Cyclist October 24, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am

    midislut wrote
    Cyclist wrote The interactive 3D store map was pretty cool to play with for a minute. Here is another example of stores that don’t have an inner city presence.

    how many 30,000 sq ft. properties are available in the inner city? can you clarify? would LA, Miami, Chicago count?

    Walker wrote
    Press Release wrote COTA to Acquire Downtown Property for Administrative Offices

    Thursday, October 23, 2008

    The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) has entered into an agreement to purchase an office building at 33 N. High Street in downtown Columbus. The purchase, which is contingent on the approval of the COTA Board of Trustees and completion of due diligence and analysis, will enable the Authority to relocate administrative and sales functions along with itsdowntown bus operator reporting station into a single, ADA accessible, COTA-owned facility.

    “The opportunity to acquire the 33 N. High building provides COTA with a presence near Broad and High streets where much of our service operates, permits our employees to utilize the service we provide to the community and offers us greater visibility and convenience to our customers and the community,” said Bill Lhota, President/CEO.

    In 2006, COTA announced its intention to relocate administrative operations from overcrowded space at its McKinley Avenue fixed-route bus and maintenance facility to a strategic location in the central business district. About 100 COTA employees will work in the building which has about 72,000 square feet and several long-term tenants.

    “Our new location will also permit COTA to hold Board meetings and other public meetings in our own building with convenient access to public transportation,” Lhota said. COTA would like to commence operations at 33 N. High Street by the 3 rd quarter of 2009.

  20. Walker Evans
    Walker October 24, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am

    It’s apples to oranges trying to compare a 30,000 sq ft retail space to a 30,000 sq ft office space. You might as well be asking Big Lots to open a store underwater.

  21. JonMyers October 24, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am

    Walker wrote You might as well be asking Big Lots to open a store underwater.

    Might be a great way to redevelop the Scioto. BIG Lots/ Aqua.

  22. Cyclist October 24, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm

    Walker wrote It’s apples to oranges trying to compare a 30,000 sq ft retail space to a 30,000 sq ft office space. You might as well be asking Big Lots to open a store underwater.

    Department stores can have have multiple floors. A former Department store downtown that starts with an L was converted into an office space.

    I have never understood the whole apples to oranges thing. Please explain.

  23. Walker Evans
    Walker October 24, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apples_and_oranges

  24. Cyclist October 24, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm

    Apples and oranges can be compared. It is an idiom I have never liked.

    They are both fruits, they both make popular and healthy juices, both are acidic, both are mass produced, both are internationally eaten. Both grow on trees. etc.

    They have a lot of difference too, but comparison is entirely possible.

    I think it a positive and smart idea that the city insists on denser building types for large retailers to set-up shop. Big box stores/retailers can fit into multi-story buildings. I am not proposing the Borden building turning into a Target, but there is plenty of ways a big retailer can fit into spaces. Humans have designed much more complicated thing than that.

  25. Cyclist October 24, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm

    Oh and while reading this cute article, I found this from wikipedia:

    “Criticism of the idiom

    Various scholars have questioned the premise of the incomparable nature of apples and oranges, both in serious publications and in weblogs and spoofs (see below). These criticisms of the idiom, however, tend to assume that “you cannot compare apples and oranges” is a descriptive statement capable of logical or scientific counter-example, without addressing the possibility of interpreting the idiom as a normative statement (meaning something such as “it’s not fair to judge apples and oranges by the same criteria”).

    [edit] “Legal” criticism and “mathematical” interpretation

    Law professor Eugene Volokh argues that the idiom is inappropriate, because “we compare apples and oranges all the time! We compare them by price, by how much we like the taste, by likely sweetness and ripeness, by how well they’ll go in a tasty fruit cocktail, and so on. In fact, every time we go to the store and buy apples rather than oranges — or vice versa — we are necessarily (if implicitly) comparing apples and oranges”. He suggested that a better idiom would involve “two items that really are radically dissimilar” like “apples and democracy” or “oranges and the multiplication table”. He believes that such “comparisons really would be hard to conduct”. One of Volokh’s readers noted that even such radically dissimilar nouns as apples and the multiplication table can be compared fairly easily, as when one compares the number of syllables in each word or the relative age at which children learn each concept; another reader noted that the idiom was still relevant in situations where someone criticized oranges for not being good apples.[1] Alexander “Sasha” Volokh argued that mathematically, only the properties of apples and oranges can be compared; the fruits themselves cannot be. Mathematically astute bloggers and readers forced him to partially retract his analysis, however.[2] Also, in his blog, Volokh admitted that his argument “was a joke”.[3]

    [edit] “Scientific” criticism

    Oranges, like apples, grow on trees.

    Oranges, like apples, grow on trees.

    At least two tongue-in-cheek scientific studies have been conducted on the subject, each of which concluded that apples can be compared to oranges fairly easily and on a low budget and the two fruits are quite similar. The first study, conducted by Scott A. Sandford of the NASA Ames Research Center, used spectrometry to analyze both apples and oranges. The study, which was published in the Annals of Improbable Research, concluded: “[...] the comparing apples and oranges defense should no longer be considered valid. This is a somewhat startling revelation. It can be anticipated to have a dramatic effect on the strategies used in arguments and discussions in the future.”[4]

    A second study, written by Stamford Hospital’s surgeon-in-chief James Barone and published in the British Medical Journal, noted that the phrase “apples and oranges” was appearing with increasing frequency in the medical literature, with some notable articles comparing “Desflurane and propofol” and “Salmeterol and ipratropium” to “apples and oranges”. The study also found that both apples and oranges were sweet, similar in size, weight, and shape, that both are grown in orchards, and both may be eaten, juiced, and so on. The only significant differences found were in terms of seeds (the study used seedless oranges), the involvement of Johnny Appleseed, and color.[5]

    The Annals rejoined that its “earlier investigation was done with more depth, more rigour, and, most importantly, more expensive equipment” than the British Medical Journal study.[5]

  26. Walker Evans
    Walker October 24, 2008 2:49 pm at 2:49 pm

    Cyclist wrote there is plenty of ways a big retailer can fit into spaces.

    You could fit your bed in a big closet if you stand it upright. That doesn’t make it functional.

  27. Cyclist October 24, 2008 4:13 pm at 4:13 pm

    Walker wrote
    Cyclist wrote there is plenty of ways a big retailer can fit into spaces.

    You could fit your bed in a big closet if you stand it upright. That doesn’t make it functional.

    You are comparing apples to mattresses now. That’s just nonsense.

    Are you doing the old Walkeroo Switcheroo and pushing for big box retailers?

    Is there a DSW at the Lennox Center?

  28. gramarye
    gramarye October 28, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am

    Cyclist wrote I think it a positive and smart idea that the city insists on denser building types for large retailers to set-up shop. Big box stores/retailers can fit into multi-story buildings. I am not proposing the Borden building turning into a Target, but there is plenty of ways a big retailer can fit into spaces. Humans have designed much more complicated thing than that.

    That still doesn’t make comparing retail properties to office properties appropriate. The square footage is a secondary concern; remodeling would be a royal pain in the neck. There are urban big-box stores out there, certainly, but they’re not generally converted office buildings–certainly not high-rises.

Want to comment?

Login or register first.

Lost your password?

shopping categories