Big Box Stores without Big Boxes

What big box stores do you want in your community?  Better yet, what specialty stores do you want in your community?   Your community demographics, that is, population, need not be an issue to address your needs and your community’s.  If you’re a remote Canadian community in the Yukon, wouldn’t it be nice to have a Cabelas close at hand to outfit your hunting and fishing needs?  If you’re a remote Arctic community wouldn’t it be nice to have a Canadian Superstore at hand to get groceries?  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Sears store in the community to buy your apparel?  Wouldn’t it just be nice to have some of the conveniences that those in large urban markets have?

Sure you can order online now and pay substantial shipping costs if you are really remote; but there is a better way. 

Some of you might be familiar with CSAs, Community Supported Agriculture, and the concept of membership to receive fresh produce on a regular basis from local farms.  You might also be familiar with site-to-store programs from various retail big box stores where you order online and they ship it to your nearest store for you to go and pick up.  Several companies are already participating in this program of site to store:  Best Buy, Staples, and Walmart for example.  Order aggregation would be another way for big box stores to address another market opportunity, the rural and remote one.

So, why not a site to site program, that is, order products through an online community portal website to be delivered to a local community catalogue store site which may even serve as the local post office?  A little while ago, I wrote about the revirtualization of the country catalogue store where residents and businesses would be notified upon their purchase’s arrival to the local catalogue store via e-mail or perhaps through a local community smart phone application.  Shipping costs might be free for community development cooperative members.  A weekly consolidation of local grocery orders may be shipped once a week from a participating retailer which could substantially reduce food costs for very remote communities and may even be shipped directly to the local grocery store.  The community’s portal would have affiliate marketing agreements in place to accommodate the site to site program.  Non members and/or those ordering online from other sources might incur shipping costs or local service fees.

Your online community portal hosted locally in your community can be your gateway not just to lower costs through Big Box stores but to facilitate and promote local buying as well.  This service would greatly assist the community’s elderly and the disabled who may order online and then a local delivery service could deliver products.


Monetizing Broadband through Cooperacy

Monetize means to convert something to money and this can be achieved quite simply by selling something.  Another way might be to take a tool or service that you have and use it in different ways to create money perhaps by utilizing it in such a fashion as to save your money being spent on other purposes. 

What then are the best ways to monetize that broadband connection that you have or should have? How do you monetize that communications service that you pay for.  How does your community monetize its broadband network?  The obvious ways are to use the Internet not just for data but for voice, television, and security systems. What are some others?

I’m thinking that there has to be others that are offered either free or at very little cost.  There is of course VOIP services like Skype which you can use to stay in touch with friends and family.  You can get a VOIP service provider to give you virtually all the capabilities and features you have on your analogue phone.

I got to thinking about this as my son doesn’t watch television anymore, nor I, especially now, since we cancelled it.  He doesn’t use the phone which we still have, perhaps mostly for nostalgia, as he talks with his friends, actually conferences with several at a time, over the Internet, or uses his cell phone.

What is this future generation watching? I know Youtube is one, but I’m wondering what other free channels, that is, URLs, as well?  I’m surprised that there is not a new version of  TV Guide called Free TV Guide.  Television was initially free.  Remember all those TV antennae on the roofs of houses with rotators.  All you had to do was to buy a television and an antenna, a one time charge.  Now you have to pay monthly to watch advertisements.  Have we been duped?  Shouldn’t the advertisers be paying for our service?

Well, we can still listen to radio free of charge and even monetize our broadband further by being able to listen to radio stations in other cities and countries, thanks to Internet radio.

You have a smart phone but no cell coverage.  With a soft phone app on your smart phone you can communicate using WiFi on your smart phone to take even more advantage of your residential broadband Internet gateway while lowering your cellular usage costs.

For HAM operators we can even use the Internet to make connections throughout the world.

For rural and remote communities, distance learning has to be another way of monetizing that broadband connection. You no longer have to pay for  travel to get to class.  Anyone else with some thoughts on reducing your costs by monetizing your broadband connection and virtual vacations don’t count?

Just thought of another one, not so direct, but still appropriate, and that is selling all those items we possess that are no longer used through classified ads or bartering.

Basically these are personal and family ways to monetize that broadband connection.  Now, how many ways are there for a community to monetize their broadband?  Well, in order to even think about this the community really needs to own their network infrastructure, otherwise the monetization process benefits others.

Assuming then that your community owns their network, hopefully through a cooperative endeavor, cooperacy, and not local municipal government, some of the ways that this broadband network may be monetized are: local phone service; promote local buying through a community portal; local web hosting; community WiFi for tourists and visitors; local radio broadcasting; local video streaming for council meetings and event coverage; Big Box stores without big boxes through affiliate marketing; promote local trade; local coupons; local classified ads; surveillance; water monitoring; meter reading; precision farming; and local fund-raising online.

What Happen$ in the Community $tay$ in the Community!

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