In the seventies, I lived with my mother and dad in the countryside, in a village so small that there weren’t any shops. The nearest general store was 5 kilometres away and the second nearest general store was 10 kilometres away. We didn’t have a car, so shopping was difficult. That’s why my mother visited our neighbour twice a week, they had a phone. (Later we also got our own phone.) There she made a phone call to the shop and ordered the things in the shopping list that she had made at home earlier. Later our food shopping became easier, when a retail vehicle started visiting our area two times a week. This retail vehicle was like a bus that included various food goods. The mobile shop’s driver was a shopkeeper or seller at same time. Today the nearest shop is located 20 kilometres away.
Nowadays, the same kind of trend seems to be emerging online. Buying food online is easy if you know where to look. You can find a wider selection of products and get the best price. This kind of service is offered for example in the Citymarket, Prisma, Ruoka.net and so on.
The Prisma department store in Lielahti offers the service via internet in the web address prisma.fi/klikkaajanouda. You can choose and order products, that you need and then you can get them picked up at the given time. Another market offers shipping your items free of charge to your home. You can also buy food from another country, for example from Estonia, USA, United Kingdom and so on. Buying food online is more popular in the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom and our neighbourhood, Sweden. Even every fifth of Swede buys food online.
Typically customers are families with their children, and with good income. Customers aged 49 – 59 are the most interested in buying food online. These groups are usually very busy, so this kind of service is more suitable for them. The increased amount of free time enables you to make other various things at your free time.
There was an article saying that online marketing is not yet so well-known, so it should be more informed and advertised to the people. In Finland purchasing food online is still at a pilot stage. The experiences of online shopping has got a flying start. The delivery charges variates still widely. In the beginning the Citymarket carried goods for free of charge when you buy more than worth of 120 euros and when you have the members’ benefit/discount card, the so called Plussa-card. Now the Citymarket charges 9,90 euros, when they deliver the goods directly to the customer’s home. Tavaraverkko.com delivers all goods free of charge in the metropolitan area, if your purchases are at least 50 €.
The question is, is this kind of service an opportunity or a threat? Does this cause asociality and passive behaviour in the future? Maybe in the future, the majority of the people live in their cubicles and will become marginalized. People just stare their phones and laptops 24/7. Social exclusion increases physical problems and it can escalate into a significant crisis. As has been said, the reasonable use of Internet services, where necessary, is a good thing.
I think that this kind of service is a great opportunity for aged people, who live in sparsely populated areas. Sparsely populated areas are increasingly connected to the better internet connection. This makes it possible to use the internet more efficiently. Older people need some advice and help to use these kinds of services and the necessary devices. The support is given by the people, who can use the online services and who can send food. After that this kind of service can get great success in future, but it takes time.