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Savvy new app helps Houston shoppers take stock and avoid headaches

Skip the lines at take stock with this new app. Photo courtesy of Simon Property Group

The age-old phenomenon of driving to and parking at The Galleria — only to find that the desired item isn’t available — may soon be a thing of the past.

Galleria shoppers can now utilize Simon Search, a new search platform that allows users to research in-stock products available at the mall’s retailers. Simon Search will be integrated into the existing Simon app, the Galleria and all Simon Property Group malls around the nation, and interactive directories.

Current participating retailers include Aéropostale, Anthropology, Athleta, Banana Republic, Bloomingdales, Brooks Brothers, Coach, Crocs, Gap, J.Crew, Kate Space, Lane Bryant, Lilly Pulitzer, Lucky Brand, Macy’s, Stuart Weitzman, Ugg, and UNTUCKit.

“A customer who is seeking a blue tank top in size small, will be able to identify what store has that item quickly and efficiently in stock right here and right now at the Galleria,” Enna Allen, Simon Property Group’s vice president of brand management, tells CultureMap.

She adds that The Galleria was selected as a test site based on retail mix, customer usage, and adoption of technology tools — including use of interactive directories, plus customer feedback. Fair to say, then, that the new platform was created based on customer demand.

“Almost 90 percent of customers expressed interest in an online tool that enables enhanced searches of store inventory at local malls,” says Allen. “Additionally, 75 percent of shoppers told us that they would use this tool on a regular or frequent basis.”

Techie shoppers take note: Allen adds that Simon plans to onboard many more retailers this year.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

HOUSTON INNOVATORS PODCAST EPISODE 162

Houston innovator on seeing a greener future on built environment

INOVUES Founder and CEO Anas Al Kassas joins the Houston Innovators Podcast to discuss how he’s moving the needle on the energy transition within the construction and architectural industries. Photo courtesy of INOVUES

An architect by trade, Anas Al Kassas says he was used to solving problems in his line of work. Each project architects take on requires building designers to be innovative and creative. A few years ago, Kassas took his problem-solving background into the entrepreneurship world to scale a process that allows for retrofitting window facades for energy efficiency.

“If you look at buildings today, they are the largest energy-consuming sector — more than industrial and more than transportation,” Kassas, founder and CEO of INOVUES, says on the Houston Innovators Podcast. “They account for up to 40 percent of energy consumption and carbon emissions.”

To meet their climate goals, companies within the built environment are making moves to transition to electric systems. This has to be done with energy efficiency in mind, otherwise it will result in grid instability.

"Energy efficiency goes hand in hand with energy transition," he explains.

Kassas says that he first had the idea for his company when he was living in Boston. He chose to start the business in Houston, attracted to the city by its central location, affordable labor market, and manufacturing opportunities here.

Last year, INOVUES raised its first round of funding — a $2.75 million seed round — to scale up the team and identify the best markets to target customers. Kassas says he was looking for regions with rising energy rates and sizable incentives for companies making energy efficient changes.

"We were able to now implement our technology in over 4 million square feet of building space — from Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles, New York City, Portland, and very soon in Canada," he says.

Notably missing from that list is any Texas cities. Kassas says that he believes Houston is a great city for startups and he has his operations and manufacturing is based here, but he's not yet seen the right opportunity and adaption

"Unfortunately most of our customers are not in Texas," "A lot of work can be done here to incentivize building owners. There are a lot of existing buildings and construction happening here, but there has to be more incentives."

Kassas shares more about his growth over the past year, as well as what he has planned for 2023 on the podcast. Listen to the interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.

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