The retail world has long used new technology to better produce, sell, and purchase products. Just think of how the introduction of barcodes, credit cards, online shopping, PayPal, Apple Pay, and shopping apps have changed how we shop over the years.
We also have automated purchasing, same-day delivery, subscription services, and virtual try-on technology for shopping. Not to mention so many others! With technology now changing at an even faster pace than it has in the past, we’re in store for a lot more changes to the retail world. Here are four ways tech innovations are going to change how we shop in the near future:
1. Virtual Shopping
Soon, you’ll be able to use VR technology to shop around in virtual marketplaces without having to leave your home. If you’re not a fan of being in crowded shopping centers or getting stuck in traffic while heading out for a few errands — and who is? — then virtual shopping will be the new best way for you to shop. Think of it as combining the best of both worlds, with all the perks of online shopping and shopping in person, with none of the hassle.
With virtual shopping, you could shop around a virtual pharmacy or clothing store, or take a virtual tour of a new house or car you’re interested in. You could even shop in a store that’s halfway around the world. Although some of these are available now, VR shopping and tours of the future will have much better graphics and designs, offer better experiences, and be more tailored to your personal preferences. That means you’ll only see what you want to see and nothing else.
2. Tech-Enhanced Dressing Rooms
If you love shopping and don’t want to switch to virtual shopping, physical stores won’t be disappearing just yet. In the future, when you head to a store you’ll be greeted with dressing rooms equipped with technology to improve your shopping experience.
This could include smart dressing room mirrors, which would show you what an outfit looks like on you without having to try it on. You could also adjust the room’s lighting or mirrors through a touch screen, or communicate with a personal virtual shopping assistant.
3. Cryptocurrency Payments
For now, cryptocurrencies are mainly being used by techies for online purchases, but advocates of cryptocurrencies are hoping to see widespread adoption in the near future, not just for online goods, but for all purchases. Before cryptocurrency can become mainstream though, it will need to become easier for average consumers to use. The technology behind it will need to improve, as will the user experience.
But why would you want to make a purchase with cryptocurrency? For one thing, we don’t have a lot of privacy in the digital age. Everything we do, say, and buy is being tracked and analyzed. When you pay with cryptocurrency, your transactions will be more private than they would be when paying with a credit card. Currently, you can make purchases with select cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin) at a number of online retailers. Some restaurants and shops worldwide even accept cryptocurrencies.
4. Drone Delivery
Drones are already being used for a variety of purposes: for recreation, for military surveillance, and for scanning dangerous areas that might be unsafe for workers, among many others. While we’re seeing test runs of drones delivering purchased goods (such as from Amazon), widespread use of this delivery method is still in our future. It’s not that the technology isn’t quite there yet (though it does still need to be improved), but that lawmakers still need to determine how drones can and can’t be used.
Drone delivery will come with even faster delivery. Instead of waiting hours or days for a product, you could have that item in a much shorter amount of time, like 15 or 30 minutes. It’s a hassle-free form of instant demand — no need to pick anything up in store from an online order or deal with long lines.
In next to no time, technology is going to dramatically change how we shop. Are you excited for the changes to come? Let me know in the comments!