Friday, December 23, 2005

Are we chasing a wave that's already crested?

With Royop Corporation making its plans to build a shopping village on Highway Sixteen, the various concerns over potential business losses have been expressed quite a bit in the last two months.

But could it be that the Downtown business owners may be worrying about the wrong competitors?

CKNW's Bill Good had an informative half hour of business news at 11 am on Thursday morning as regular contributor Michael Levy provided some interesting food for thought. Internet shopping is up 28% this year from last years Canadian totals. With more and more Canadians preferring to click their basket full rather than walk the aisles of their local stores. So not only is the small business owner suffering a reduction of walk in shoppers, but so are the Big Box retailers on the edge of any town.

Anybody watching the streets of Podunk these last few weeks has seen those white postal vans, the Purolator guys or the Loomis couriers making their frantic deliveries, dashing over town from east to west sometimes late into the night.

The volume of their loads and the lateness of their hours a testimony to even Podunkians love of internet shopping. The internet experience is so simple now, the delivery system almost seamless, that it sometimes seems quite silly to trudge through the monsoon rains to stand in line to make an actual personal purchase.

In most cases the items ordered from the likes of, Future shop, Indigo books, et al takes less than a week to go from mouse click to doorbell ring. And in quite a few cases the price of the product to your door is up to 40% less than a local purchase, freight included.

It's a trend that should give many retailers cause for concern, as the process becomes simpler and simpler. The sea change of commerce has just begun around the world and Podunk will be be no different.

But it makes you wonder if perhaps the biggest concern of the local retailers should not be some bogeyman called Wal Mart or Canadian Tire. But rather our very own local Citywest, that portal that connects us to the shopping carts of the world.

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