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A Commentary on Social & Experiential (e-)Retailing and (e-)Shopping Deserts PDF Print E-mail
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Prof. Charles Dennis


Purpose – The last ten years have seen a gradual withdrawal of retail facilities from many local areas and the consequent growth of ‘shopping deserts’, resulting in social and health disbenefits. This paper examines the potential for e-shopping to fill the vacuum and to assist disadvantaged shoppers.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper uses prior published research to comment on the extent to which e-retailing may be the shopping solution of the future?

Findings – The Internet has limited potential to compensate for shopping deserts, as consumers who do not have a good range of physical shops within walking distance also tend to lack access to the Internet.

Research limitations/implications – The paper is based solely on prior research. The authors recommend action research that may hopefully help excluded shoppers to become more included by addressing the problems of access to e-shopping.

Practical implications – Government, service providers and e-retailers are may consider interventions such as subsidised Internet access, training and the provision of e-cash.

Originality/value – The paper links research from diverse fields relating to shopping deserts, the digital divide, health, wellbeing, social and experiential aspects of (e-)shopping.

Keywords: Shopping deserts, Food deserts, Retail exclusion, e-Shopping, e-Retailing, Internet shopping, Internet retailing, Online shopping, Online retailing

Citation: International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, 35 (6): 443-456, 2007.