The increasing diffusion of e-commerce have posed different questions connected to the socio-spatial specificities of consumption patterns and practices, ranging from the new “virtual” experiences of purchase to the insertion of periurban or rural places in a wider system of global retail relations. Ranging from e-commerce to the digitalisation of retail functions, the “connected” retail has deeply modified both the actions of purchase and the consumption patterns. From the geographical standpoint, new practices concur in re-writing the relationship between retail and territories, since e-commerce can lessen territorial disparities in terms of commercial offer, reconfigurate the spatial dimension of purchase as well as transforming mobility and transport systems. Thus, this paper aims at exploring the physical implications of e-commerce, by taking into account the consequences in terms of territorial processes, logistics and space organization deriving from the ever-increasing pervasiveness of virtual retail. Far from being a phenomenon confined only to the virtual sphere, e-commerce relies on a complex system of relations which are deeply territorialized as well as rooted in the local contexts: storehouses and transport systems based on courier companies represent the “physical” dimension of e-commerce, which has been completely upsetting patterns and practices of retail and consumption in the last decade. Inserted in the wider theoretical framework of the Geography studying the reciprocal interactions between virtual and real spaces, the work is finalised to explore the implications of the above-mentioned interactions in the retail field. The aim is not only to deepen the epistemological questions linked to the new “virtual” Retail Geography, but also to scrutinize processes and dynamics through which e-commerce has been recently transforming the physical spaces where its infrastructures (storehouses and even physical “experiential” shops) are located, inserted in a growing complex system of land transport. From the empirical point of view, the paper will deepen the relations between e-commerce and physical spaces in Italy, by outlining the evolution of e-commerce in the country in comparison with the territorial dynamics occurring in the “real-world” spaces.

The physical spaces of virtual retail: e-commerce, logistics and sócio-territorial dynamics in Italy

Enrico Nicosia;
2017

Abstract

The increasing diffusion of e-commerce have posed different questions connected to the socio-spatial specificities of consumption patterns and practices, ranging from the new “virtual” experiences of purchase to the insertion of periurban or rural places in a wider system of global retail relations. Ranging from e-commerce to the digitalisation of retail functions, the “connected” retail has deeply modified both the actions of purchase and the consumption patterns. From the geographical standpoint, new practices concur in re-writing the relationship between retail and territories, since e-commerce can lessen territorial disparities in terms of commercial offer, reconfigurate the spatial dimension of purchase as well as transforming mobility and transport systems. Thus, this paper aims at exploring the physical implications of e-commerce, by taking into account the consequences in terms of territorial processes, logistics and space organization deriving from the ever-increasing pervasiveness of virtual retail. Far from being a phenomenon confined only to the virtual sphere, e-commerce relies on a complex system of relations which are deeply territorialized as well as rooted in the local contexts: storehouses and transport systems based on courier companies represent the “physical” dimension of e-commerce, which has been completely upsetting patterns and practices of retail and consumption in the last decade. Inserted in the wider theoretical framework of the Geography studying the reciprocal interactions between virtual and real spaces, the work is finalised to explore the implications of the above-mentioned interactions in the retail field. The aim is not only to deepen the epistemological questions linked to the new “virtual” Retail Geography, but also to scrutinize processes and dynamics through which e-commerce has been recently transforming the physical spaces where its infrastructures (storehouses and even physical “experiential” shops) are located, inserted in a growing complex system of land transport. From the empirical point of view, the paper will deepen the relations between e-commerce and physical spaces in Italy, by outlining the evolution of e-commerce in the country in comparison with the territorial dynamics occurring in the “real-world” spaces.
978-972-636-264-7
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