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2019: Integration of Online Market Place and Main Street in Michigan Communities: Drivers, Impacts, and Policy Implications

Co-Learning Plan - 2019

Authors: Peilei Fan, MSU Urban Planning


Against the reshuffled retailing landscape and the decline of traditional retailers, a hybrid strategy of combining online market place with main street, or dubbed as “click-and-mortar” electronic commerce, has gained increasing traction as a local proactive strategy due to benefits of cost-savings, improved differentiation, enhanced trust, and market extension (Steinfield et al, 2002).  This proposal is to examine how online market place and main street can be best synergized for Michigan communities. The research questions are: (1) How have local business integrated e-commerce and reaped benefits of such integration? How have the built environment been transformed, either through a change in function for main street stores or the growth of fulfillment centers and logistics operations?  (2) What are the key drivers and barriers that have affected the realizations of these benefits? What strategies may increase the integration? (3)What are the implications of exogenous factors, such as globalization, trade regime change, and tax regulations?  A composite index to assess effective click-and-mortar integration will be developed based on the literature on the integration of click-and-mortar e-commerce, major benefits and pitfalls, strategies and best practices, and exogenous factors. Secondary data on click-and-mortar e-commerce of Michigan local business and communities at the county level or other local level will be collected and analyzed. Survey and interviews of local business and community will be conducted to identify drivers and barriers and strategies of the integration of on-line and physical structure of the business. A Co-Learning Plan and presentation materials (for REI) will be developed based on these research efforts.

Author Information

Peilei Fan, MSU Urban Planning

Dr. Peilei Fan is an associate professor of Urban and Regional Planning at School of Planning, Design, and Construction, Michigan State University (MSU). She also holds a joint research appointment at Center for Global Change and Earth Observations and is an adjunct faculty member of the Geography Department at MSU. She has a Ph.D. in Economic Development and a MS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, both from MIT. Before she joined MSU, Dr. Fan worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the United Nations University in Tokyo on comparative analysis of innovation and economic development in Japan, China, India, the US, and other East Asian countries. Dr. Fan has served as a consultant/an economist for United Nations University – World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) and Asia Development Bank (ADB). She was a Core Fulbright US Scholar of Cross-Strait Studies Program for 2017-2018 and a faculty member of executive education of Harvard J.F. Kenney School of Government (2008 & 2017). She has extensive research experience of working with economic development experts at local, regional, and national levels of different countries. Dr. Fan’s research focuses on innovation, economic development, and sustainability. Her research projects have been funded by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Science Foundation (NSF), and USAID. She has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles and been guest (co)editors for special issues of four academic journals. While her past research is about cities worldwide, she is also interested promoting economic development, urban environment, and public health of local communities in Michigan. With her research expertise in innovation, technological catching up, and economic development in different national contexts, she can bring valuable insights to the proposed Co-Learning Plan. Please see her detailed professional profile at and Google Scholar (search for Peilei Fan).

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