IOWA, Iowa (Reuters) – Iowans are among the most active online consumers, according to a survey that found that nearly half of respondents have at least one search term in their online search history.
In a bid to attract more online shoppers, Iowa-based WebDesignLab.com launched an online shopping marketplace on Tuesday, adding hundreds of designer and web design businesses in the state.
The site is the first to allow online shoppers to connect directly with companies who specialize in online shopping, and the first online marketplace to connect designers, web developers, photographers, designers, designers-in-residence and other professionals to the world of online commerce.
WebDesignLab also has partnered with major online retailers including Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and Target to create a variety of custom branded goods, such as hats, scarves, shirts and accessories, which can be purchased at the site.
While most of the businesses are based in Iowa, the online marketplace will soon expand to New York and Los Angeles, said WebDesignLabs co-founder and chief executive officer Michael Gebhard.
Iowa’s online shopping economy is growing and it is critical to provide our residents with the tools and access to commerce that are essential to their economic well-being.
We are excited to partner with Iowa-area businesses to connect them with designers, software developers and other experts in the online shopping space.
“Iowa is a big and growing state, but it’s also a unique place,” Gebhar said.
“This partnership will bring more opportunity to Iowa and the state and its people, who are increasingly looking to find a variety and variety of ways to spend their money online.
The Iowa Web Design Lab will be a great place to learn how to make online shopping more attractive to Iowa consumers.”
The Iowa Web Development Lab is part of a national initiative by Iowa State University and the University of Iowa to bring designers, developers and professionals to market in the country’s most important state, with a focus on online commerce and marketing.
The state is also home to more than 1,200 registered designers, with more than 200 of them making careers online, according the Iowa Designers Guild.
Iowa ranks third nationally in the number of design and technology professionals, and among the top 20 states in online commerce, according data from the Association of Private Sector Designers.
Iowa is also the birthplace of the Internet, a hub for commerce and a hub of design talent.
Its digital economy is expected to be worth $2.6 trillion over the next five years, according a study by the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. In the next 15 years, Iowa could become a top technology hub for the United States, McKinsey forecasts.
In Iowa, design, software, engineering, marketing and consulting professionals are a key part of Iowa’s online commerce landscape, according Gebhart.