Monday, July 4, 2011

Is Retail As We Know It Dying? (Part 1)

Retail as we have known has undergone a number of changes over the last 60 years,including:
  • the death of the neighbourhood convenience store
  • the emergence of large "big box" retailers
  • the development of large scale shopping centres at the expense of suburban strip shopping areas
  • the initial development of on line shopping in the early 2000's
With the greater availability of fast broadband internet access and the unparalled growth of social media, the barriers of distance are quickly being broken down with the result that buyers have easy access to products and services all over the world at very competitive prices.

Add to this traditional media's obsession with telling their audience that they can chase the cheapest deals out there via the internet (and then critisise local businesses who fail due to being uncompetitive), you cannot help but wonder what the future holds for small/medium family businesses - those businesses which have been the cornerstone of employment in the local economies in which they operate.

These have traditionally been those businesses who provide a good level of service and have been a major part of the social fabric of their community - and have been able to charge a little more for service and convenience.

What do these businesses need to do to survive? What do their customers value and therefore are prepared to pay for?

I'm interested in any comments you may have....

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