ShopLocal kicked off the season by handling a record 267 million page views during the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving Day, amounting to an 84 percent jump in activity over 2006. With Microsoft server infrastructure, including Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft SQL Server 2005, scaling to process massive increases in user activity, ShopLocal saw more consumers than ever researching online before buying in a store.
“We spend all year planning to support our unique peak of online traffic,” said Ed McLaughlin, senior director of technology at ShopLocal. “Microsoft provides ShopLocal with a cost-effective, scalable technology architecture that helped enable our site to accommodate a holiday increase of more than 600 percent over nonholiday traffic levels. Microsoft technologies enabled us to achieve 100 percent uptime for our retail clients and deliver the most up-to-date sales and product information to busy holiday shoppers.”
Integrating Online and Store for Multichannel Shoppers
ShopLocal’s comparison shopping site, ShopLocal.com, serves as a timely, localized resource for consumers to readily find online and in-store offers from such leading retailers as Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, CVS and Sears. In addition to using Microsoft technology to help securely integrate retailers’ online and local ads, ShopLocal uses Microsoft software for its front-end applications that provide several interactive ways for consumers to become savvier shoppers through product reviews, category searches, hosted forums, maps, dynamic shopping lists and more.
“Today’s digital consumers want to be more knowledgeable about products, brands, features, pricing and even sourcing before they buy,” said Geoff Thomas, general manager for the U.S. Retail and Hospitality Group at Microsoft. “We are pleased with ShopLocal’s success using Microsoft software and solutions to help empower shoppers to be more in control of their interactions and experiences with retailers. Microsoft is committed to helping retailers and companies like ShopLocal offer consumers as seamless an experience as possible, whatever channel they choose to shop and make purchases.”
The Microsoft Technologies That Enable ShopLocal’s Success
To prepare for the 2007 holiday shopping season, ShopLocal grew its IT environment four times its typical size, adding servers running Windows Server 2003, an integrated, highly secure and easy-to-manage server infrastructure that powers ShopLocal’s applications, networks and Web services.
Additional Microsoft technologies behind ShopLocal’s successful Web sites include SQL Server 2005, an integrated data management and analysis platform to help ShopLocal gain greater insight into critical information and run its business applications. For the consumer-facing components, ShopLocal uses Visual Studio and .NET Framework for its range of tools that enable its developers to build dynamic and compelling features and experiences into the ShopLocal.com site.
“We have a very homogeneous Microsoft environment at ShopLocal that allows us to scale each tier of the architecture independently,” said McLaughlin. “Because Microsoft technology is tightly coupled across the architecture tiers, we don’t have to worry about integration issues. Instead we can focus on delivering new features and advanced functions to meet shoppers’ escalating demands for knowledge and service and our retail customers’ strong desire to keep consumers happy.”
ShopLocal, the leader in multi-channel shopping services, offers a complete suite of solutions connecting advertisers and consumers online and in-store. The company’s consumer Web site, ShopLocal.com, provides users with choice and control in their shopping experience by offering the most comprehensive selection of timely online and in-store offers on one easy-to-use site. With ShopLocal.com, consumers can find millions of products and up-to-date weekly sales, deals, and coupons for consumer electronics, apparel, groceries and more. ShopLocal’s industry leading SmartCircular and SmartCatalog solutions are used by more than one hundred of the nation’s top retailers, including Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, CVS and Sears. ShopLocal powers multi-channel shopping for hundreds of newspaper Web sites and other leading local and shopping sites, such as Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Arizona Republic, Google and SuperPages.com. ShopLocal is owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI), Tribune Company (NYSE:TRB), and The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI). For more information, visit www.aboutshoplocal.com.