Buffalo.com Redo Aims Young, Adds ShopBuffalo

When hyperlocal zeroes in on local marketplaces, it makes a lot more sense to me. Witness ShopBuffalo, an attractive new marketplace from The Buffalo News launched as a companion to Buffalo.com. The site has partnered with ShopCity and Hero, a local design firm.

Launched March 31 as part of a broader redesign, ShopBuffalo provides free business profiles, adding premium tiers priced at $47 and $97 a month. Businesses can claim them and flesh them out with Facebook and Twitter links, online inventory feeds, coupons, deals, gift certificates, video, event calendars and maps — a very well-conceived set of services. As with other ShopCity partnerships, “shop locally” is a major theme. Merchants are encouraged to promote their own presence via in-store signage. The site also features overall community pages for merchant news and events.

Buffalo News’ Emily Lowrey tells us that ShopBuffalo was developed as a piece of the broader site, which targets 13- to 30-year-olds who are not traditional newspaper readers. She’s not kidding about that. The animated characters that hover in the logo on Buffalo.com’s home page — designed by Hero — could be from a “Star Wars” comic. Another component of the beta is PaperG’s Flyerboard, which lets organizations and merchants post announcements and send additional information on request.

Lowrey notes that the site also has a strong community component. The five-person team that launched Buffalo.com — Manager Ben Kirst, a part-time manager, plus sales and content coordinators/creators — is working with community organizations now to get Neighborhood Goods and a few other really positive projects running.” She adds that site has not had any formal marketing while it is in beta, but will begin a major promotional campaign within two weeks.

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