The Way You Shop is Changing: The Future is Here

photo credit: wikipedia

Technology is changing things so fast, it can make your head spin. These changes impact everything, and one area that is moving toward BIG changes is shopping.

More people are shopping online than ever before, and the impact is being felt by the brick-and-mortar stores.

Target and Best Buy have both complained that people come in to browse, and then go home and buy on-line. This is a trend that is only expected to continue as people become more comfortable with buying things online.

Payments are moving to your smartphones. A company called LevelUp is successfully doing that right now (although this is found mostly in cities).

Here are three other ways that your shopping will be changing in the not-too-distant future:

Scan As You Shop

Reuters is reporting that Walmart is trying out a new way to get their customers OUT of the store quickly without waiting in lines.

You’ve probably used, or at least seen, self-checkouts at grocery stores, etc., well now Walmart is experimenting with a process that would take self-checkout to a whole new level. A Walmart in Arkansas recently did a trial run by recruiting a bunch of employees and their invited friends and family to try out a new method of self-checkout: The customers would shop as usual…… however, as they put their items in their cart, they would scan the items, themselves, with their iPhones. Then, at checkout, the only thing left to do is to pay. Scanning would be all done.

The long-term plan would include paying on the iPhone, as well. No check-out needed. Just walk in, shop, scan, and leave. This would mean NO lines (a retailer goal). Just an experiment for now, but it does give us a little peak into the future. You can read more about this here.

Other future shopping changes are even more extraordinary.

Virtual Mirror

How about a virtual mirror where customers can view themselves in various clothes … just by looking in the mirror? Technology would figure out exactly how the outfit would fit, based on body type and fabric. This isn’t science fiction… it’s under development, and should be ‘ready’ in just a few years.

The 3-D Printer

Another mind-blowing shopping concept is the 3-D printer. Imagine clothing, household items, pharmaceuticals, just printed out in your own home! I find it hard to wrap my mind around the concept of a 3-D printer, but they are already in action and have been used to print out hearing aids and model rockets. Amazing. And it’s coming.

You can read more about this mirror and the 3-D printers by clicking here.


16 thoughts on “The Way You Shop is Changing: The Future is Here

  1. love the idea of the virtual mirror… reading and trying to understand your posts means that i may be able to keep up my end with my children and grandchildren who have a kindly contempt for my technological ignorance, I suspect…

  2. New technology is mind blowing and I can’t for one live without it but I’m going to put a bit of a spanner in the works here, where would the human touch come from? I order loads of stuff on line and pop off to the post office to collect it once it arrives so I’m out and about speaking to other humans whilst doing this, if it can be printed off at home where is the contact or am I just another dinosaur?

    • I think you are totally right… we are losing some personal contact. You mention that you go and pick up your packages, mine arrive ‘magically’ at my doorstep and I never see the person. Personally, I’m even more concerned about the loss of JOBS as the brick and mortar stores shrink and the checkouts are all self-done. Thanks for thinking about this with me 🙂

  3. I’m sorry, but I will always want to try on the actual garment I’m going to buy. Perhaps the mirror can show exactly how it will fit, but there are certain tangible aspects you won’t get from the mirror. I have sensitive skin and some textures annoy me right off the bat. Other times, there are extra tucks or pieces of elastic hidden away that feel uncomfortable. I don’t think the mirror will be able to tell me if the fabric is going to bother my skin.

    As for the 3D printer, I actually saw this technology in a demo phase in my first semester of college back in 1998. I was in one of those first year seminars where you go to different departments to check out different majors. We went to the computer science and engineering lab where a prototype machine was in the works. They called it a 3D fax at the time, but same thing.

    The way this worked is that you’d scan in a picture of what you are looking for and the machine, loaded with a specific material, would recreate the object. It was quite an interesting thing to see but at the time I believe the machine could only hold one or two materials. This machine reproduced a vase out of clay. I’m sure the technology has improved drastically since 1998.

    • I absolutely agree about the texture-on-your-skin thing. I’ll touch a garment on the rack, and even if it looks wonderful, if I don’t like the way it feels, I won’t even try it on. And what the mirror thinks “fits”, I’d probably think is too tight (I wear my clothes loose).
      The 3D printer is something I just can’t get my head around. I think it is amazing that you actually saw it. I wondered about the materials, too…. I mean you can’t ask it to print you a bowl of spaghetti, a bottle of cholesterol medication and then a new tire for your car… would you have to have a machine that “only” does one thing? I dunno. I’ll have to learn more about this if my brain can hold it. 🙂

  4. I love 3D printers, we have one in my school. Although it takes several hours to print something, it is an invaluable way of prototyping products – especially for my A-level pupils. If you want to see our 3D printer in action you can see it on our Youtube channel: (Its making an SD card holder, the timelapse video was produced by one of my pupils)

    • That is SO COOL!!! I can’t believe your school has a 3D printer! That is awesome. Before I retired, my school district had cut back on things so much that teachers were forced to provide their own paper for the students. A 3D printer… wow. Lucky students! I still can’t wrap my mind around it, I’ll have to look into this a bit more. One more time: Wow!

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