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The « place » as a component of the marketing mix has always been a very important consideration for all businesses.  Whether you are concerned about price, getting your clients to reach you, being present on certain markets, using your address as a positioning statement, or to have access to all kind of resources (human, material, sub-contractors, financing, etc..), all these aspects, and more, need to be taken into consideration when choosing your place of business.  

But what is the impact of Internet on these considerations if any?  I would have to say that the “place” aspect of the marketing mix is one of the most affected by Internet. 
Let’s look at the various points stated above, minus price considerations as this is affected by all of these. 

Be accessible to your target customers 
One of the main considerations when looking at a commercial place is customer traffic. This is why businesses will pay a premium to be in a place situated on a well-known commercial street, in a shopping mall or, for service companies, in a tower located downtown. But a recent visit to an important Montreal shopping mall showed me that there is a change of mentality. With a surprisingly high vacancy rate, by far the highest in quite some time, there are questions to be asked. The same can be observed with the vacancy rate on St-Denis, Ste-Catherine, Sherbrooke and St. Laurent Streets. Of course, the economy, road work projects (St-Denis street was partially closed due to the amount of road work when I last visited), the competitive impact of shopping destinations like “Quartier DIX30” all play a role in this state of affairs.  But when one also considers the rental rate of industrial buildings which is on the rise, a change can be noticed. The online business needs are changing the requirements for the business place. The role of the store seems to be redefined. Transactions are increasingly done on Internet and retailers are more in need of a warehouse from where they can process orders than a boutique where customers can pay cash and carry. 

Presence in a given market
Exporting has never been easier! International sales still have challenges, but from a marketing point of view, the world is ours thanks to Internet. A good online strategy, impeccable customer support in the language of the region, local support, fast and effective delivery options and entry barriers to new geographic markets have significantly diminished. All this, thanks largely to Internet.

Showing a certain prestige
This is still very important for some businesses, but how much can you work on your company image using an excellent website? And if you are in the high-end industry, who comes to visit you on-site?  For the vast majority of customers targeted by the high-end industry, they have little time to go somewhere; with a few exceptions, they would rather have you visit them.  It is more time efficient.  But this reality does not apply to all. This may be the "place" aspect that is the least affected by Internet.

Access to resources
For human resources, telework and virtual employees are growing incredibly.  Why pay a full workspace when some of your employees can work from home and be more productive? To assist in the management of virtual work, several applications are available online. For material resources, Internet provides some benefits, but it is to your advantage to be where the material is. Same with subcontractors; even if communication tools have evolved, proximity offers great benefits. For financing, it depends. If you are seeking funding; several platforms are available online and this offers more flexibility. But if some of the financing comes as subsidies, there are often territorial considerations attached to those.

So depending on the stage of development your business is at, the price you are willing to pay and the type of company you have, the "place" aspect is greatly affected by Internet.

If you have any questions or comments on this subject, do not hesitate to contact me


Stéphane Elmaleh-Riel, B.Ed., MBA
Marketing consultant