August 23, 2017

The Technology Changing How We Shop

Historically, technology was seen as a threat to the traditional shops that existed in cities and towns. It was a baby of the online world, which was keeping people away from the shops and making them spend their money in the virtual world. But that’s all changed now. While the online retail market does still pose a real threat to the livelihood of city shops, the shops have begun the fightback – and it all starts by using technology to make the customer experience as fluid as people; smoother than the experience of shopping online.

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Source: Pixabay.com

How we Pay

If anything was going to be streamlined, it was how the customer is able to pay for their goods. Nobody wants to lose a sale just because the customer was unable to pay as quickly as they would have liked, or through their preferred method. Enter: a whole host of technologies and software that makes it easier than ever. In the UK, contactless payments have made low cost purchases quicker than ever before; they simply present their card to a reader and the sale is instantly made. See also the rise of the credit card reader, which allows businesses to take payments on the move, and Apple Pay, which allows iPhone users the chance to pay with their device.

How We Get Out Stuff

In today’s fast moving world, people don’t want to wait for the goods they’ve ordered, and a delivery time frame of 3-5 days is simply unacceptable. This idea was first brought to the fore by Amazon, who first offered free and fast shipment for Prime subscribers and have now moved on to even more ambitious time frames; the use of drones for deliveries, which was initially regarded as a joke, now looks likely to be widespread. There’s also the increasing rise of city delivery services, which get goods to you in a flash.

How We Decide What to Buy

An issue facing shopkeepers is how you accommodate for individual tastes in a limited shop space. That problem could be removed in the near future, with virtual shelves replacing material goods. These shelves will be individually tailored to match the needs of the shopper, which in itself has been determined by sophisticated algorithms relating to their age, spending habits, previous purchases, and more. On a smaller scale, how we decide what to purchase could be assisted by augmented reality; say, for example, you want to see how a new pair of jeans would look on you. With augmented reality, you’ll be able to see how they look without even having to get changed. This is good news for sellers as people are in and out of the store quicker.

In the not too distant future, you may also see fluctuating prices on the shelves, which change depending on which shopper is looking at the item. If you’re a long term customer of the store, you might get a better deal than a first timer. Similarly, you might also get a better deal if you’re from a low income household.

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