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What if instead of going to the shops, the shops came to you? For years, the idea of ‘going shopping’ has been understood as a kind of event; shops have been considered a destination for outings, socialising and buying, and a source of retail therapy. However, changes on the social and technological scene in the last decade are now seeing the retail experience evolve into something that renders the idea of ‘going shopping’ almost outdated.
Imagine a world where you enter a retail store and are instantly identified by your mobile phone. Your preferences, credit card details and buying history are immediately recognized along with your identity and from that moment on, the entire in-store experience is customized to your needs and desires. You select products either by scanning a code on your smartphone or by placing items in a physical shopping cart the old-school way. When you are finished shopping, your shopping tally is calculated as you walk past sensors near the exit and the amount owing is immediately charged to your default credit card.
Sound fanciful or futuristic? Well this is almost precisely the automated retail experience shoppers are already enjoying in Amazon’s recently opened bricks-and-mortar retail stores.
The age of minimalism and Marie Kondo is well and truly upon us and the latest disruption in the retail industry reveals its efforts to keep up.