Remember when the shops closed at 5pm sharp? When weekend shopping meant any time so long as you were done by midday on Saturday? Remember cheque books and queueing at the bank on your lunch break and carrying cash everywhere?
Fortunately we’ve moved on from the old days and now we have EFTPOS, late night shopping, online banking and so much more.
The retail experience has evolved rapidly over the past couple of decades and there’s no sign of it stopping any time soon.
The next generation of shoppers is growing up with online shopping and, more importantly, mobile shopping first and foremost in mind when they buy products. Courier companies are reporting huge increases in demand for goods shipped overnight to residential addresses and companies like Amazon are trialing same day delivery and looking at drones for transportation and logistical solutions.
So what will the shopping experience of 2030 look like?
Let’s assume technology continues its crazy pace of development and our smartphones are smarter, our reality is augmented and our internet access is all pervasive.
Online shopping is already familiar to most of us, so long as we have a credit card or an account of some kind with the shop. But what about those without a credit card? Already we can shop online through Online EFTPOS which makes use of the banks’ own banking apps to simplify the shopping experience.
No more entering in your credit card numbers, trying to remember your expiry date and all the rest – just click on buy now and your bank app does the rest. Simple.
By 2030 that kind of functionality will be commonplace and blended with the real world shopping experience. So, walk around the store, selecting items to buy and then just walk out. The store will know who you are from your phone (or your face or your voice perhaps) and you’ll be asked to confirm your purchase and that’s that. No more queueing and mucking about while the cashier asks you a million questions for the store loyalty scheme – it’s already all taken care of.
That ease of transaction model applies to the online world too. Forget about sitting at your computer researching the product and printing off fact sheets – instead you can research, compare, shop and buy all from your mobile device.
By 2030 retail outlets will have worked out that customers are visual and love to buy things they can see. Imagine the Shazam app but instead of listening to songs and letting you buy them it uses your camera and shows you prices and shipping details for new products you see. Like those shoes or that coat? Take a photo and they could be waiting for you at your front door the next day. No need to know who the designer is, or even what shop sells them, just let your shopper app do it all for you.
As for augmented reality (AR) we’re already seeing showrooms making products available for you to “place” in your lounge or home environment to see how it would look. Not sure if that couch is the right size or colour for your place? Just look at your room through your phone’s camera and you’ll see the couch there, ready to be sat on. Of perhaps you want to landscape your back garden – use the power of your phone and the right apps to show you what might be done.
Shopping doesn’t have to wait until the shops are ready for you. Shopping happens when you want it to.