Recently SES Spar European Shopping Centers presented a new customer and retailer platform: “yip.at” (your information point). From now on, all interested retail, gastronomy, service, and skilled trade businesses from all over Austria will be linked to yip.at in order to make their locations, product ranges, and services visible to customers via the search platform. The platform contributes to consumer convenience because it allows them to easily find their required products in brick-and-mortar retail outlets in their vicinity, to visit the stores on site, and to contact the local retailers via the digital platform in order to request, order, reserve, and pick up the goods or have them delivered, where retailers offer this service. Registered companies will also receive free digital know-how via regular webinars. Twice a year, yip.at operator SES will award a EUR 10,000 grant to innovative companies, and the platform will be free of charge for all users. Developed and financed by Austria’s market-leading shopping center operator, SES, the platform was created in cooperation with Loop New Media GmbH, one of Austria’s leading digital agencies.
Online retail in Austria is due to increase by more than 17% this year. An estimated EUR 4.2 billion in purchasing power is expected to flow into foreign, primarily globally active retail platforms. This development, if it is not quickly and significantly counteracted, will result in a massive threat to jobs, an enormous loss of tax revenue, and a catastrophic change in Austria’s retail structure and quality of life.
Objective: Strengthening of Companies with Brick-and-mortar Operations in Austria
SES is an Austrian company that has successfully transformed brick-and-mortar shopping into an experience for decades, whether in shopping streets, such as Seestadt Aspern in Vienna, department stores, such as Gerngross Wien, or shopping centers, such as EUROPARK Salzburg. “The launch of yip.at demonstrates SES’ focus on strengthening local and regional retail, service, and gastronomy businesses through the use of digital tools,” says SES CEO Marcus Wild, who is due to become a member of the SPAR Executive Board on 1 January 2021, describing the company’s expectation of the new platform. Christoph Andexlinger, Head of Center Management and COO-designate of SES Spar European Shopping Centers, adds: “yip.at cannot be compared to the multitude of conventional online shops. The platform will enable us to offer a search and information portal, thereby giving the numerous Austrian brick-and-mortar companies a means by which they can be seen by their customers in the respective catchment areas and, ideally, be contacted or even physically visited by them. Companies will also have access to important digital knowledge, networking opportunities, and support.”
100% Free of Charge and Easy to Use
yip.at is completely free for everyone to use – companies and customers alike. The platform operates without advertisement and was developed with extreme ease of use and a state-of-the-art user-experience in mind. For Michael John, Managing Director of LOOP, the digital agency with which SES developed yip.at, it was a project close to his heart: “yip.at illustrates how technology can help local retailers in the midst of the current situation. The initiative does more than simply serve as a signpost that directs consumers to brick-and-mortar stores: Webinars and grants also create additional value for Austrian companies. We are delighted and proud to be able to contribute our digital know-how to yip.at, which was developed in cooperation with SES in record time.”
Strengthening Online Presence to Benefit Brick-and-mortar Business
yip.at provides support to brick-and-mortar businesses by means of strong online presence. The ability to find retailers and their product ranges online, thereby enabling consumers to buy locally (“around the corner”) or regionally has become increasingly important. The more detailed manner in which the individual businesses present their product ranges or services on yip.at, the greater the benefit – for both the companies and the customers.
Free Webinars on a Regular Basis
How do I become more visible in search engines? When does an online shop make sense? How do I generate enthusiasm for my customers and employees both on site and digitally? How can I use social media in a more effective way? Such topics as well as numerous others are covered in the course of regular webinars conducted by various yip.at experts. This service is also free of charge for all registered companies. The first webinar, entitled “10 Quick Ways to Use Instagram for Retail Locations”, is scheduled to take place at 5:00 PM on Friday, 4 December.
Direct Investment and Promotion of Innovation
Twice a year, in 2021 and 2022 at a minimum, and beyond, if possible, SES will provide support for innovative ideas relating to footfall generation at brick-and-mortar operations in the form of grants amounting to EUR 10,000 each. All companies that are registered on yip.at will be eligible to submit their ideas. Each selection will be made by a jury of experts and institutions.
“The diversity and innovative strength of brick-and-mortar retail, gastronomy operators, service providers, and craftsmen is particularly close to our heart at SES. Last but not least, such innovative power plays an instrumental role in shaping our society,” Christoph Andexlinger confirms, adding: “yip.at will enable us to offer Austria’s consumers even better information and Austria’s entrepreneurs tailwind, digital knowledge, networking opportunities, and support. We consider this initiative to be a strong direct investment in Austria’s retail, gastronomy, and service sectors.”
Broad Support for yip.at from Austrian Retailers
The Austrian Trade Association and the Austrian Council of Shopping Places (ACSP) are in full support of the yip.at concept. Both associations are committed to informing their members about the new platform and motivating them to participate. Every city, municipality, shopping street, and marketing association has also been encouraged to use yip.at to increase footfall in their catchment areas.
yip.at for All Entrepreneurs
All existing brick-and-mortar retailers, gastronomy operators, service providers, cultural institutions, and skilled trade businesses in Austria – from the smallest to the largest – are welcome to use the online portal and to refer to their own online presences and shops. There is one exception: Links to online shops that are operated via foreign platforms are not permitted on yip.at. Registration can now be completed at yip.at/anmeldung. End consumers will be able to access yip.at starting at 12:00 PM (midnight) on Saturday, 5 December.