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B2c e-commerce adoption in inner cities: An evolutionary perspective


  • Ron A. Boschma


  • Jesse W.J. Weltevreden



Internet makes it possible for consumers to shop without visiting a physical store. As online shopping is becoming more popular, this could have significant impact on in-store shopping. The extent to which consumers, producers and retailers make use of the Internet as a complementary channel or as a substitute for in-store shopping is fundamental for the way traditional retailing will be affected. It is only recently that geographers are becoming interested in the spatial consequences of this new form of commerce. From a traditional geographical perspective, one could expect that business-to-consumer (b2c) e-commerce could make physical shopping redundant, leading to a ‘death of distance’. There are, however, several factors that may limit this new form of commerce, such as logistical constraints (e.g., personal delivery of goods may be quite expensive), habits of people, and the need for social contact. The main goal of the paper is to draw some expectations concerning the relationship between b2c e-commerce and inner city retailing. Using new insights based on evolutionary economics, hypotheses will be developed concerning the impact of b2c e-commerce on consumers’ shopping behaviour, retailers’ store strategy, and the inner city retailing environment as a whole. We claim that habits may act as a constraint to change consumers’ shopping behaviour. In addition, routines can explain why retailers may be rather reluctant in exploiting this new channel of commerce, and why they are most likely to adopt rather conservative e-commerce strategies. We also explain how and why inner cities, as important retailing and consumption places, may affect the way actors deal with this new form of commerce. One may expect that especially in these localities, both stimulating and limiting factors of b2c e-commerce adoption are predominant, depending on the quality or the attractiveness of the inner cities, among other things.

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  • Ron A. Boschma & Jesse W.J. Weltevreden, 2005. "B2c e-commerce adoption in inner cities: An evolutionary perspective," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0503, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Feb 2005.
  • Handle: RePEc:egu:wpaper:0503

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Golob, Thomas F. & Regan, A C, 2000. "Impacts of Information Technology on Personal Travel and Commercial Vehicle Operations: Research Challenges and Opportunities," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt0zh556db, University of California Transportation Center.
    2. Jerry Dasso & Elaine Worzala, 1993. "An international real estate society?," ERES eres1993_124, European Real Estate Society (ERES).
    3. Geoffrey M. Hodgson, 2003. "The Mystery of the Routine. The Darwinian Destiny of An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 54(2), pages 355-384.
    4. Edward E Leamer & Michael Storper, 2001. "The Economic Geography of the Internet Age," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 32(4), pages 641-665, December.
    5. Ulrich Witt, 2006. "Evolutionary Economics," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2006-05, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    6. Richard R. Nelson, 1995. "Recent Evolutionary Theorizing about Economic Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 48-90, March.
    7. Andrew Currah, 2002. "Behind the web store: the organisational and spatial evolution of multichannel retailing in Toronto," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 34(8), pages 1411-1441, August.
    8. Ron Boschma, 2004. "Competitiveness of Regions from an Evolutionary Perspective," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(9), pages 1001-1014.
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    Cited by:

    1. Orit Rotem-Mindali & Jesse Weltevreden, 2013. "Transport effects of e-commerce: what can be learned after years of research?," Transportation, Springer, vol. 40(5), pages 867-885, September.

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    evolutionary economics; e-commerce; urban economics;

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