Today at the Union Square Market, the maple syrup guy was selling fiddlehead ferns. No doubt they were wild, a special treat you find in the forest for a week or two. They were $6.50 a pound.
Two booths down, there was a farmer, also selling ferns. For a little less, as far as I could tell (his were by the pint). You could guess that each guy was disappointed that the other one existed... obviously, they think, if the other guy wasn't selling fiddleheads, I'd be doing better.
In fact, that theory applies to every person at the market. Every booth imagines that it would be a lot better if they didn't have to share the crowds with all the other booths.
Probably the same way at the mall, now that you think about it.
And online too, I guess.
Of course, this reasoning is fallacious. Without all the other booths/stores/websites, there are no crowds!
The power of the mall is that your competition is right next store. The magic of the web is not that you can somehow bait people to your site and entrap them. What's becoming more clear every day is that the more you send people out, the wider open your door to the mall hallways is, the better you're going to do.