In the future (…near or far? …time will tell…) we will have two radically different types of shopping:
- shopping for everyday items
- shopping for specific, glamorous, out-of-the-ordinary items
Let me get into the details…
What is “everyday-item-shopping”? It’s – for example – the purchase of grocery products like toilet paper, bread and so on…
…but in the future it won’t be me (the consumer) doing this type of commodity-shopping, instead it will be some Intelligent-agent software in the cloud (…nowadays when you talk about any advanced technology, just say it’s in the cloud!) that will be charged with the boring task of regularly preparing a shopping-list of the needed items, evaluate retailer options, and make online orders.
Purchased items will be gracefully delivered to my door the next day.
This “automated shopping” is going to be efficient and effective because my Intelligent-agent software (…the one living up in the cloud, remember?) will know everything about me and my habits.
For instance, it will be familiar with my purchase-history (…guilty as charged, I belong to several loyalty programs!), with my dietary needs (…my clinical records will be in the cloud too), with the state of my finances (…I already use e-banking every day); it will know when and for how long I will be on vacation (…my electronic calendar says so) or when I’ll be hosting a dinner for my friends (…again, just ask my electronic calendar).
You got the point, don’t you?
By the way, maybe my cloud-based Intelligent-agent software will be offered by Wal-Mart as an additional free service linked to my loyalty-card – why not? …I’ll be more than satisfied, considering that in Bentonville (Arkansas) they are expected to offer the lowest prices, don’t they?
Or it will be included in my Apple iTunes account – after all in Cupertino they already have my credit-card number in their systems… …and my iPhone knows everything about me!
Or it will be a Gmail add-on – after all, all my emails go through Mountain View, and my Android smartphone (…I own two smartphones, so what?!) knows everything about me too!
Still following me, aren’t you?
So far so good… …let’s now talk about shopping for specific, glamorous, out-of-the-ordinary items.
Shopping for specific, glamorous, out-of-the-ordinary items
Now I’m thinking about shopping as a form of pleasure…
…it will be me (the consumer) visiting a brick-and-mortar store and enjoying a fantastic shopping-experience.
No stupid Intelligent-agent cloud-based software (..!) will be involved, fortunately…
Exclusivity is the key-word here: I’ll be shopping for items that are *SPECIAL* and that – hopefully – my friends will be envious of… …maybe it won’t be cheap, but surely it’ll be gratifying!
it won’t be cheap because I’ll pay both for the product (…exclusivity may be expensive, of course!) and for the fantastic experience.
…especially for the fantastic experience: I’ll be visiting stores that retailers turned into fantastic, social and thrilling settings, with new levels of involvement, relationship and value.
Stores that replicate the charm and attractiveness of a disco (…or maybe of an art gallery? …or both?).
Stores whose merchandise is curated every month (…or every week?), like a magazine does with its content.
I’ll shop and spend social time with friends and family, enjoying interactions with nice, consultative Store-associates – so that I can get an awesome, personalized service that goes well beyond products.
So, dear friends in Retail, are you going to offer efficient and effective commodity shopping (…maybe through fantascientific cloud-based Intelligent-agents) or exclusive products alongside a communicative, distinctive, outstanding and unforgettable in-store shopping-experience?
Please, PLEASE, think ahead (…about how shopping is going to evolve…) and do not get caught off guard – you could be in big troubles!