Mobile Shopping – Bringing the Store to the Streets


‘Mobile’ shopping is big – but ‘mobile’ means more than just the e-commerce shopping done on smart phones. In this case, ‘mobile’ means shopping from customized boutique trucks. Consumers are familiar with food trucks; most urban areas have at least a few trucks selling their menus on the streets. However, consumers are less likely to be familiar with mobile retail boutiques.

Over the past decade, entrepreneurs have looked for new and less expensive ways of doing business, whether it’s an online business, subscription model, or brick-and-mortar format. While retail stores can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to start, the costs for starting a truck-based business are much less. According to the Mobile Retail Association, average start-up costs range from $20,000 to $30,000, with monthly costs around $2,000 to $3,000.

Food trucks were one of the first mobile models of business, starting with Los Angeles chef Roy Choi’s taco trucks. Food trucks created a gathering place for consumers and have naturally expanded into different types of merchandise such as fashion, clothing, flowers, and more. Add lower operating costs, the freedom of the road, and it’s a recipe for success.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of opening a mobile store.
  2. Show several mobile stores at these Web sites:

  1. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a different type of mobile business.
  2. For each mobile business, have students determine the target market and marketing mix for the truck.
  3. Debrief the exercise. Which mobile business will do the best? Why?

Source: New York Times

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