Shopping takes many forms in the 21st century, from online shopping to how the high street retailers will continue to adapt and change to meet consumers wants and needs.
Technology-oriented shopping has already become part of our every-day lives but one predictable thing about technology is that it’s constantly evolving and with those changes how we shop in the real world will also continue to change.
We’ve had our eye on these 5 trends that we think are likely to start having an impact sooner rather later.
Shopping with Virtual Reality
Shopping in the comfort of your own home while feeling in the store. You can wander around the store, look through items and add things to your cart after staring at them for so long.
This new vision of shopping is already starting to make an appearance. Just recently Swarovski and Mastercard started offering virtual reality for their home décor line.
Virtual Reality is different from augmented reality as it uses computer technology to produce a simulated environment.
When you wear the VR viewer you become immersed in a completely different reality in place of the one that’s physically in front of you. VR creates an environment that gives you free movement to look around as if you were actually in the store without having to make the journey.
How quick the uptake will be on this type of shopping will depend on how fast VR viewers become affordable to the general public, but prices are already dropping dramatically from where they were 2 years ago.
Keep your eyes peeled for new campaigns and promotions from the high-end retailers as they will be the driving force behind VR shopping revolution.
Augmented Reality Shopping
We’re most familiar with Augmented Reality since the Pokemon Go mania a year ago. Well, technology has evolved to the point where we can use Augmented Reality to see exactly how that IKEA piece of furniture we eyed in-store looks like in our living room, or what other colors does this outfit has.
AR is used in apps for smartphones and tablets and these apps use the camera on the phone to display the real world in front of you, but with added layers of information such as content, prices or other images.
By using your smartphone camera to view an area like a living room, you can then “place” products into space and see how that product will look in your living room before you buy it. Amazon is already starting to offer this service for their product ranges and you can expect other online retailers to follow suit.
Artificial Intelligence – Shopping for you?
Alexa and other variations of this technology can already be programmed to shop for you like when you ask it to add something to your shopping list as your walking around the house, at work or out and about. It’s then up to you when you ask your device to “shop” meaning the order is then placed.
As people start to place more trust in these devices the level of authority freely given by the user will increase possibly to the point where they will allow the device to order things the device might think that they need.
The use of Robots
We might see a few robots assisting shoppers on the shop floor.
Companies like Amazon are already investing in thousands of warehouse robots to help pack and ship items.
We’re also starting to see more of online chatbots when we log on to an app.
The premise is to see if the chatbot can answer your question before transferring you to a human. This type of approach tends to see a decrease in traffic.
It can often be a faster way to get questions answered rather than being left on hold, but that depends on how good the algorithm is and how much of the company’s knowledge it has been programmed with.
If chatbots have been insufficiently programmed, then they can easily become a barrier rather than a help. You can expect to see the Chatbots get better and better as the algorithms adapt.
What this term means is that shopping will be going even more mobile than it is currently.
How you might ask?
Well, it’s been calculated that 70% of all new mobile phone purchases are smartphones and instead of visiting websites, consumers are turning straight to the apps on their phone for ease and convenience.
This type of app also allows retailers to easily add extra incentives for shopping with them, such as digital coupons. Retailers are encouraging this type of consumerism because it allows them to gather data on personal shopping habits and using ever more complicated algorithms offer predictive products that they “think” you may be persuaded to buy.