The use of trucks as mobile commerce platforms continues expand. Just in the last week the press have reported on two interesting examples.
The Forbes article Financial Planner Takes Tough-Love Money Advice On The Road reports on the first financial planning truck I've heard of.
Charlotte, N.C., financial planner Marsha Barnes cruises around in a refurbished school bus dispensing financial advice. So far she's advised over 4,000 people on her bus.
Key quote on why she is truck-based:
Barnes launched the mobile aspect of her practice in November 2014 to help a broader pool of people than she could assist in a traditional office. Purchasing a small bus she calls The Finance Bar, she enlisted a sorority sister to design the sleek, pared down interior in soothing tones.
The second example comes from the New York Times. Ann Patchett’s Nashville Bookstore Hits the Road, With Dogs in Tow covers an independent bookstore that also has a bookmobile.
The bookstore and bookmobile are part of the broader trend towards a growing number of independent booksellers. These are single stores or small chains that are filling the gap left by the decline of the big book chains.
Key quote from the article on this trend:
In 2015, the American Booksellers Association counted 1,712 member stores in 2,227 locations, a big jump from 2009, when the group had 1,401 stores in 1,651 locations. “The trend is unmistakable, and we see it not only continuing but growing,” said Oren Teicher, the ABA’s chief executive.
The drivers behind the return of bookmobiles and the rise of financial planning trucks (and yes, the bad pun was intended) are same as those behind the growth of food trucks and other forms of truck-based commerce.
Trucks are cheaper to open and operate than traditional stores, provide a way to tap into a broader pool of customers and also attract attention.
From the NYT article:
Ms. Hayes found the van on eBay last spring, and bought it for $10,000 from a library in Georgia. The van was already outfitted with angled shelves, which keep the books from flying off, but still needed $20,000 worth of work.
It is a logical and efficient way for a small bookstore to expand its footprint, especially as big chains have shuttered locations, leaving a vacuum for enterprising independent stores to fill.
We've long followed the growing use of trucks of various kinds as rolling retail stores.
Our Food Truck/Mobile Commerce section covers this in more detail. In this section you will a wide variety of truck-based retailers including art galleries, shoe stores, fashion trucks of various kinds and even a truck that sells yarn. Fun stuff.