Internet Cafe 2.0

M.G. McIntosh

OPINION

03/16/2022

CONCEPT REPORT

  • Voice in the Wind Magazine Inc.

Introduction

Mom and Pop shops may have the opportunity to reintroduce the world to an old familiar concept: the internet cafe. It’s a well known fact that not everyone is computer savvy, yet the world is increasingly electronic. In this ever changing landscape, I believe a new service will pop-up in stores everywhere: the Internet Sales Rep. This employee would be a hybrid of a real estate agent and tech support. They would help people shop online, book appointments and buy products too. This employee would bridge the gap between customers and technology – and be the primary help in the Internet Cafe 2.0.

Concept

The Internet Cafe 2.0 would be a hybrid of an internet cafe and a real estate agent’s office. Paired with basic retail (clothes, shoes and other items that are hard to buy online), gift shops (unique items not easily found online) or shops looking to save on their lease, this new design will allow retailers to save space, while giving customers the feeling of an in store purchase. 

Discussion

A customer using this service would be able to order items directly to the store (which, in turn, could be paired with a post office type service for easy receipt of items). Customers could also have items delivered to their home too – all while having an employee present to answer questions. The likely users of this service are seniors, those who are disabled and those who aren’t very tech savvy so this employee will need to know how to interpret emails regarding everything from scams to recalls and know how to identify them. 

Alternative

Retailers could use their own kiosks, like the kind you see in McDonald’s today. The simpler set up would allow customers to learn to purchase products more easily, but would likely come with less services because the retailer wouldn’t hire a tech specialist. Ultimately, this set-up would be “self-serve”, too. They would likely staff the kiosks with a traditional retail worker. Still, the retailer could reap the benefits of cheaper leases as they could have a much smaller shop. It would be the modern day version of an “express” retailer or hotel. This would also open up the possibility of these kiosks appearing in common areas of malls, hotels, airports, etc. All the retailer would have to do is lease space from the operator of the mall, hotel or airport, which is exactly how it was done with arcade machines for years. So you could borrow the model. This would be the modern day version of a “convenience” store. Haha.

Further

If the kiosks were treated like arcade machines and space was leased from others, then the kiosks could appear in common areas of apartment and condo buildings too. This would dramatically increase the variety of “shops” available in town. Especially in Bow Valley where space is very limited. This could be useful in reclaiming precious space for housing or hotels. And Bow Valley loves its hotels. It could also help with multitasking too. After all, you could be waiting for your movie to start and get some shopping done too. Any “waiting area” at all could be a place for these kiosks.

Trains, Planes and Cruise Ships

I could see a scenario where trains recapture money by offering these kiosks in one of their cars. The owner of the kiosk would either rent the space or pay a fee per transaction, whichever they settle on. Ditto for any other transportation. Hmm. How about delivery? Now that I think of it, if these kiosks were in hotels, stuff could be delivered to your room while you’re there. At least, stuff from local businesses anyway. The same would be true of apartments and condos. The kiosks could even have a “location feature”,  and that would mean clicking on the delivery button would be enough to at least get your stuff to the main lobby. Kiosks are pretty versatile, actually. 

Conclusion

I think I’ve written enough to make my point so I’ll leave it at that. Thanks for reading, everyone. Please like, share and subscribe to read my book. Love you all! 

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