Just to make sure you know what we mean by “Death of the Mall”, a short intro;
Online shopping and “mobile retail” became the bane of physical shops and malls. Seph Lawless’s coffee-table book “Black Friday” will take you through a virtual tour of an example. This is old news to many people.
But when will the hunter, again become the hunted? What will dig a grave for online shopping or mobile retail?
Put your safety-belt on – you might not like the upcoming candidate killers. But before we can consider the candidates, we need to rewire your brain first. Change the way you think. Let’s start with a story about the coolest thing on earth; ICE.
A long time ago, ice cubes were not easy to come by. People used pickaxes to chop frozen lakes into ice slabs, store it in warehouses; then distribute it to nearby customers. Central cooling technology killed it by building ice factories. Today, we have fridges or even cute fancy ice-makers with all the accessories in our homes… then thermo insulation flasks and cups arrived that could keep things either cool or hot for even longer. No ice needed.
Ice wasn’t just made new and improved – it was reinvented. MULTIPLE times.
So what will reinvent digital shopping? That will require us to cross some lines… people might be offended… So let’s turn the heat up slowly shall we? How about just reducing the demand for online shops?
Too lazy to shop?
Tired of forgetting to replace your empty toothpaste tubes and finished deodorant? Why not subscribe to automatic replacement services? They deliver right to your door once a month, with replacements for your monthly use of … well, all sorts of stuff. Amway is one of the biggest companies offering such services.
This is just one example of innovative business models that take a chunk of business away from ANY kind of shop. If there isn’t such a thing in your area – start one up. Companies like such convenient services especially. Nothing like running out of toilet paper or dish washing soap to create a business opportunity!
Will this kill online shopping? No, but it’s one of many ways of reducing the demand for shopping. It’s helping to bring the system down. Similar things are office cafeterias – you’ve got to eat lunch, why go to a shop when the company has a wide choice of food ready-made just down the hallway? These things start adding up, resulting in less and less demand for any kind of shop – including online ones.
Enough about reducing demand for shops, whether physical or online. What will really threaten them?
Digital alleys have digital robbers
There are already a lot of reasons some people avoid online shops. Phishing websites pretend to be a legitimate online shop, just to steal account access details from you. Poof! Gone is the money in your account. What about scammers? You think you’re buying the real deal, but then you find out it was all a lie after it is too late. But how do you punch the digital con-man in the face and take your money back? He could be on the other side of the world. No internet police to alert either.
It is controversial whether it can be seen as cyber-crime or cyber-justice. The point is that digital financial systems are not infallible. An unorganized group of loose hackers posed real threats to top international financial service providers. What other dangers lurk beneath the deep waters? And what are they capable of?
How about shutting down the internet? Would you like to know how? Here’s a few ways, actually: How to break the internet.
Just as things started getting interesting in the list of possible online shop killers, here comes the scary stuff. Don’t worry, the gory details are safely behind some links you need not click. Or do you dare?
Viva la Revolution!
First we looked at reducing shopping demand, and then we looked at threats to it. Now we’re looking at what will kill it. Capitalism and consumerism are best buddies. But those aren’t the only economic models in existence. If the way business WORKS is changed – the way society works – then even the idea of a “shop” might start sounding a bit weird. Can you imagine such a world?
Some people can. If you prefer a video over technical reading, then some Zeitgeist Movement discussion might provide some interesting perspectives.
There are other ways to make a living. But they usually go with social changes that are so big, that people don’t know how to handle it – and that scares people. People don’t like change. So what will it take to make people more scared of keeping things as they always were? Survival could be a good enough reason.
Scarce resources will be depleted. Agricultural capacity is declining. Pollution is making more and more of earth unlivable. The death of online shops will be the same thing that is the death of our current global economic systems.
We better start thinking of better ways to do things. Like the story of the ice industry that became obsolete with fridges, thermo flasks and cups. Online shops will become obsolete, just as regular shops did.