The Connected Local Economy: A New Way to Understand Innovation in Local

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These days, the web is more than a marketing engine for businesses that sell their wares in the real world. Cafes and coffee shops ring up lattes over the Internet; service professionals manage appoints in the cloud; and diners order food and make reservations through mobile apps and desktop sites more than ever before.

Software is deeply changing our relationships with the places we visit and the communities in which we live. Companies are wrapping software and connectivity around our experiences in the real world, and in doing so are changing the calculus by which consumers decide where to shop, how to get there and what to buy.

Anecdotally, we know these changes well. We catch cabs in new ways; we meet people via location-based dating apps; we don’t search for businesses in phone books; and we don’t order food on the phone.

But what’s actually changing here? In the physical world, not much has actually changed. There aren’t flying cars. We’re using the same crumbling infrastructure we used half a century ago. So if the physical hasn’t changed, why has our relationship has with it changed so much?

At Street Fight Summit earlier this month, I introduced a new framework we developed around the concept of the connected local economy. At the highest level, the connected local economy asks marketers to shift their focus in local marketing from innovations in media, which drove the industry for the past fifty years, to the deep changes occurring in the commercial models that govern the way we actually buy and sell products and services locally.

The deck below lays out data on the impact of ecommerce on the local economy, and the way in which connectivity has begun to influence how local economies operate. We outline the way in which internet-connected software is reinventing the information systems that govern the way both consumers and businesses move through the physical world, and the imminent impact of these new “connected local systems” on the over 90% of consumer spending that occurs locally.