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.


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