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Developers Diversified launches online community

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Beachwood, Ohio Shopping center owner and operator Developers Diversified Realty announced Tuesday that it has launched ShopStar, an interactive online community designed to engage shoppers and provide value.

According to Developers Diversified, ShopStar leverages two of today's most popular social media platforms -- Facebook and Twitter -- to create an online hub for a retail and entertainment community that offers surprises and perks throughout the year, including spending sprees, prize packages, freebies and experiences.

This "VIP Club," according to DDR, is brought to life by partnerships between the shopping center and its tenants, both working together to ensure customers find valuable rewards and engage in meaningful dialogue throughout all elements of the program.

"Our recent focus group research confirms that traditional advertising is not impacting consumers' buying decisions," said Scott Schroeder, VP marketing and corporate communications for Developers Diversified Realty. "The reality is that consumers are doing their homework before they come to a shopping center. They are searching the Web, talking to friends via social networks and reading online reviews. This behavior and dialogue guides their decisions of where to shop and what to buy. At the end of the day, we wanted to create an effective program that speaks to the convenience and value our centers offer in the same space that our customers are making their buying decisions -- online."

ShopStar will roll out in 25 Developers Diversified shopping centers and is a platform for participating properties to provide regular rewards and perks to loyal customers, deal-hunters and social media-savvy shoppers.

ShopStar perks will be updated frequently so members are encouraged to regularly visit the site to discover new offers. Additionally, there will be interactive elements, including polls and a community forum for users to discuss everything from trends to books to upcoming movies.

ShopStar also incorporates the centers' Facebook pages and Twitter accounts for followers to keep up on the day-to-day activities at a center.

"Leveraging the power of social media adds a new level of customer service that is critical," said Schroeder. "The opportunity to communicate directly with our customers and create relationships allows us to foster loyalty and build a personal connection with our shoppers. Additionally, ShopStar and the associated social-media channels enable us to be actively involved in online conversations with customers as they are making purchasing and entertainment decisions."

© 2014