BGSU Mall brings money for University programs and services

By Annie Furia and By Annie Furia

Members of the BGSU Mall website, launched by the University Bookstore in fall 2014, can donate to the University while

they shop.

According to the BGSU Mall website, the website offers “discounts, coupons & rewards from 1200 participating stores.”

Anyone can sign up for a free account on the website and use it to buy from the websites of various retailers, such as Toms, Macy’s and Amazon.

As members shop, up to 10 percent of each purchase goes to the University.

That money “supports programs and services benefiting BGSU,” according to the website.

Wendy Schortgen, assistant merchandising manager for the bookstore, wrote in an email, “The money earned from the site goes to our continued sponsorships and donations to on campus student organizations and causes. This support and involvement with organizations such as Dance Marathon and service-learning opportunities is very important to the bookstore, and we are happy to be able to give back to our customers.”

Schortgen wrote that the idea for the BGSU Mall came from an industry trade show.

To launch the website, “[The bookstore] partnered with a company that manages the site, partners with the stores, and sources the deals and discounts offered on the,” Schortgen wrote.

The partner company is Affinity Stores, which runs the Cause Network platform the site is hosted on.

Chief Operating Officer of Affinity Stores Glen Gulyas said, “Cause Network is a marketplace designed to empower consumers, fund great causes and enable national brands to support

those funds.”

Gulyas said Affinity Stores runs the platform the site is on, but the University could customize the features of

the store.

One of the customizable features is which retailers appear the site. Gulyas said the University could choose from a list of over 1100 retailers.

Comparing it to other deal or coupon sites, Gulyas said the BGSU Mall allows members to get “the same great deals and send money to a worthwhile cause.”

In addition to accounts being free, Gulyas said the BGSU Mall website does not take any credit card information. Purchases are handled on the

retailer websites.

Aileen Northern, account manager for partners at Affinity Stores, said over 100 new members have joined the BGSU Mall website since November.

Still, Gulyas said he wanted to bring more attention to the store.

“One of the things we’re hoping to do this year is work a little more closely with Bowling Green to get emails out to students, parents and alumni,” Gulyas said. “We need to let everybody know that this store exists.”

Schortgen wrote that the bookstore had a

similar goal.

“We are hoping through increased marketing and awareness, we can increase web traffic on the site, therefore allowing us to continue and expand upon our student organization sponsorships and support,” Schortgen wrote.