Is online commerce the end of the local retailer or its salvation?
I was thinking about what consumer items must be purchased locally. Fresh food – from a quality standpoint. Everything else from a time standpoint. But if you plan ahead, nearly everything can be bought online. So, a local retailer’s biggest benefit is convenience – specifically from a timing perspective.
So, why are Google and Groupon so interested in local retail if that’s not the inevitable future? Because it might be. It’s just that the local retailer is going to evolve. Any local retailer who sells only commodities faces an eventual death. But the food and service industry, by definition, have to be local. And that’s still a huge swarth of the economy. And if that becomes the entire local economy, it’s a giant market to have. Perhaps that’s why Groupon turned down $5.5 billion to get out of it.