The Weekly Advertiser

EDITORIAL: Thinking caps on in shopping battle

Dean Lawson Editorial Nov 2017It is with everything from fear to fascination that we watch the evolution of online trading and what it means for traditional regional shopping.
Alarm bells have been ringing loud and clear for some time, perhaps more profoundly in regional centres, about what our shopping and service landscape will look like in the future.
Empty shops in what were prime trading locations are providing an obvious hint of the challenges confronting anyone keen to maintain or set up a small retail business in the bush.
As a small operator, it’s a tough gig trying to sell anything, let alone selling it for a price that makes the operation worthwhile.
While the internet marketplace, with its vast diversity of products and prices has a magnetic lure, its impact is potentially profound.
It could ultimately change what we come to expect from our regional cities and towns.
Face-to-face shopping and the socio-economic oomph provided by small-business trading has always been an integral part of life in regional centres.
And the warning is that if you put that at risk, you put a whole town, district and region at risk.
Horsham mayor Pam Clarke has identified and spoken out about one aspect involving a direct relationship between community activities and district business patronage.
She rightfully argues that people involved in sporting or community groups, clubs, organisations and activities who overlook home-town traders to shop online, have no right to ask the same businesses for sponsorship.
This more than suggests that the individual choice of shoppers, in understanding implications, plays an integral part in ensuring we keep our businesses.
But is it enough? Probably not!
Shopping for a bargain is part of human nature and online shopping is not only here to stay, but will only get larger and more influential.
This leads us to a quandary. How does a regional centre win this fight?
It might be that to beat our enemies in the future that we, where opportunity beckons, have to join them.
Online retail shopping is a warehouse industry.
Online businesses might not, in many circumstances, need shop fronts, but they certainly need big sheds, space, infrastructure, appropriate telecommunications, power and, critically, access to efficient transport services.
Imagine if we could draw up a blueprint that attracts online warehouse sellers to our region, perhaps with a proviso that they set up a shop-front in an empty store in a shopping centre – a picture of potential starts to emerge.
It might work. It might not. But the idea is worth exploring.

The entire June 27, 2018 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

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Posted on Jun 27 2018

Posted by on Jun 27 2018. Filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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