Daning has about 100 tenants, including coffee shops, restaurants, offices, a gym, a yoga center, a movie theater and a Four Points by Sheraton hotel. All of those businesses are contained in two dozen buildings and courtyards.
But the developer, Chongbang Group's Shanghai Forrester Development Co., wasn't sure the open-air shopping and lifestyle center would attract people. Although it's heavily populated, the neighborhood has lacked stores and entertainment, so Shanghainese aren't used to going there for fun.
To lure them toward Daning-and away from rival destinations such as Xintiandi, a popular central Shanghai dining and shopping zone-the company and OgilvyOne, Shanghai, created an all-video website that lets consumers experience Daning virtually before making the trip.
A visitor chooses whether to enter the site (daningdaning.com) as a male or a female. Users are then whisked from a living room in a normal apartment into Daning to experience the mall as if they were there-but with a twist. Instead of merely looking at clothes on a rack or watching a fashion show, the virtual persona actually becomes a model in the fashion show, wearing clothes that are available in Daning's shops.
Through the site, visitors can also take a yoga class, go to the gym or the movies, or visit Starbucks for a coffee.
The site will be refreshed regularly with new items from the stores, and the developers are in the process of developing online profiles of the tenants. The site will also build a database of Daning members for direct marketing.