Dennis, Charles, Jayawardhena, Chanaka, Wright, Len Tiu and King, Tamira (2007) A commentary on social and experiential (e-)retailing and (e-)shopping deserts. International journal of retail and distribution management, 35 (6). pp. 443-456. ISSN 0959-0552

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. The purpose of this paper is to examine 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 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.

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