I was having a chat to my local video rental store owner; I will pause here. The surprising thing about that to most of you is that my town still has a video rental shop. My American wife has not even seen one for years. But, in my town it is still cheaper (and more pleasant) to go to a shop and rent a DVD. So, I was talking to the shopkeep, and she told me they had laid off staff, and the weekends were the only thing keeping the store afloat.
This, and the vacant shop fronts in main straight, had me thinking: When most people in town finally have smart TVs, and the internet reaches a speed and price that allows it, the DVD store will go. Anything that can be bought online will go – and the town will be left with nothing but shops that the internet can’t match. And what shops would they be?
What can’t the internet compete with? Well, anything service I suppose. Coffee shops, hairdressers, dentists. I suspect supermarkets online could happen. I would still prefer to see what I am buying and see all the options, though going online with free delivery would stop the impulse buy. I think I see going to the supermarket as a time to get out of the house and then hit a coffee shop, the internet can’t compete with an excuse to go out.
There are some things I would not trust to online shopping. To me that would be shoes and clothes, I know some people who love shopping for clothes online, but not being average size I don’t trust it. Not sure I would want to buy another phone from online, either. In my last experience it was an Australian website and name, but the phone came from Asia, so not covered by Australian consumer law… another pitfall.
My guess is the shops that people don’t want to use online will be the only ones that remain outside of large malls in major cities. With the money flowing out of smaller districts to central online companies in the capital, there will be less money in the towns to spend on anything not essential to buy in person.
So for shopping districts and shop owners everywhere in Australia, the question becomes this: What wouldn’t you buy online? And that will be all that is left in the main street.
Do you think main street will ever go offline? Will shops ever close down?
Image by AODVet