Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What is the future of retail?

Today Inside Retailing published an article entitled ‘Shopping in the tech age’, revealing the ability to buy products directly through the store window with a swish of your hand.

It described a technology that’s been exhibited at
CeBIT, the world’s biggest high-tech expo which uses infrared cameras to register hand movements, such as pointing to a pair of shoes, and instantly transmits them to a large screen in the shop window. A menu is prompted to appear on the glass, showing the item in 3D along with product information such as sizes, colours and price. To buy, the browser simply has to point to the checkout icon and pays by putting their smart-phone against the window.

It got me thinking - what do applications like this mean for store layouts and shopping centre designs as we know them now? Will we do away with shops we walk into altogether and instead walk through corridors of glass separating us from a myriad of consumables? Does this spell the end of sales assistants in stores? How will the items we’ve purchased be bagged and handed to us?

Trends indicate that we still crave the tangible nature of the shopping experience – to touch, smell, try on and be taught about those items, for which we part with our hard earned coin. After all the explosion in social media hasn’t stopped us from enjoying the physical company of our friends and family. I believe there’s still a place for human interaction in our purchases and that the brand experience will need to be even more fulfilling for us to participate in this future scenario.

But I still can’t shake the futuristic vision of  walking through malls that are giant screens flashing for my attention. Probably what my fingers experience now when they navigate the online stores contained in my iPhone! Food for thought.

1 comment:

  1. "But I still can’t shake the futuristic vision of walking through malls that are giant screens flashing for my attention":)