The internet has taken over Big Boxes.
Im going to make a bold prediction in this paper. The internet is the new big box retailer and Main Street will benefit from this recent phenomenon. Let me break that statement down individually.
- If you understand why the mall, then big box retail came about, it will be easy to understand and believe why the internet can and will take over that realm. Main Street lost out in being the main retail area for three reasons. 1. lower price point 2. Greater selection of products and 3. convenience. Big stores beat out Main Street because they could provide a greater selection at a lower cost and with the growing suburbs were a more convenient way to shop. This is exactly what the internet has done to big boxes. When your focus is price, selection and convenience I believe someone will always find a better model. The internet was able to solve all of these problems and as we see now the big boxes are looking somewhat obsolete in the race for efficiency.
This takes me to the spillover effect of how the internet actually helped revive the idea of Main Street.
- If the internet is the function to the retail equation, Main Street is the form. Main Street is an art form, or at least has become one as a result the more isolated we become. For all the internet offers, it doesn’t offer much in the way of community and what we get with interaction with other people. Main Street is the “great place” and environment where community can come together. Retailers are now redesigning their stores to fit smaller, more specialized locations, which is exactly what our downtowns and Main Streets are. While, Main Street can’t compete with lowest price and greatest selection it can become the best experience as a gathering place where one can shop, eat and most importantly interact with others. This we found has and will always be a fundamental human need.