The Future Of Shopping

When I was asked to write about the future of shopping, all I could think was the world would be completely robotized. I hardly could think of anything else. 

Source: FutureTimeline
Whenever I stereotype something, I always seek the help of my friends. Trust me!! Brainstorming works like a dream all the time. It has helped me personally as well as professionally many a times.
I started with Navin,

Me: How do you think 'Shopping' would look like in 2030?

He started with a word, 'Online'. 

Navin: Everything would be online. In the year 2013, when you can get almost everything online, do you still have to ask the same question? The only difference would be the way we buy things online. Say for eg. Now you need a laptop or a mobile to make a purchase, but by 2030, you never know 'You brain might be programmed to connect virtually with any e-commerce ecosystem and make your purchases'

Me: Huh!! Makes sense. You never know. Who would've thought in 2000, that you can buy almost everything with just a mobile phone. In 2030, you might not be even required to press some buttons in some electronic devices or touch something through a touch based electronic device. Just think of it, decide and make a purchasing decision. Sounds great!!!

Saravanes joined our discussion.

Source: Forbes
Saravanes: I don't think everything would be online. People would still go to retail stores to make their purchases. Say for eg. In 1980s we went to retail stores to buy stuffs, In 2000s we went again and In 2013 we're still doing the same thing. The joy you get, while shopping in the stores, can never be achieved when you buy online. It might be just the excitement, when you receive something through a parcel delivered at your door steps. However the things which are very close to your heart, say for eg. your clothes, your car or your bike. Do you think you would just see a pic and order online? Nope. The retail stores will prevail and people will still be visiting the stores. After all, where are you buying your basic commodities milk, water and vegetables? Online?

Me: Makes complete sense. The global consumer will prevail, with centuries to follow. However with the rise of internet enabled devices, there are high chances for digital stocks to replace physical stocks. The number of foot steps to shopping malls and retail stores might reduce. You never know? The clothing stores might have an electronic display monitor which would take your photograph, size, skin tone and suggest the clothes which would suit you. This concept will absolutely save your time of trial checks and within a short a span of time you will able to try 100s of different clothes and brands. 

The discussions went on for about 45 minutes and most of our points revolved around the future of shopping being completely online. So, our discussion slowly shifted from shopping to the future of online shopping. Most of us, were talking about the present day challenges with e-commerce websites. The e-commerce websites don't sell perishable commodities (Milk, Vegetables etc), the time taken for them to deliver a shipment ranges from 4 days to 15 days, shipment received in damaged or 'not-working' condition, the current ecosystem revolves around the products not the customers, high shipping costs (Jeez!!! This is really high when you buy through some e-commerce startups), Returning a defective good can be really a head ache, misuse of credit card information etc and the list went on and on and on...

What can we expect from a e-commerce giant like E-bay in 2030?
  • Same day shipment (Even to the remotest of the villages)
  • What I see is What I will receive
  • Perishable goods at my doorsteps every morning (E-bay might partner up with the local merchants across the country to do that)
  • Virtual checking applications in the website (For stuffs like watches, clothes etc  - Eg. How will I look like if I wear a particular shirt)
  • Free shipments (Across the world)
  • I can buy anything from hair pin to helicopter in just a click
  • E-bay plugin for brain (This is my favorite. You don't need a mobile phone, tablet or a laptop. Just think of it, process the order in your brain and buy it virtually. Sounds cool..huh?? )
  • Virtual Movie Theatres (A micro chip which would project a new movie right at my home at a size of how much ever big I want with high quality sound effects)
  • Highly Personalized shopping (As shown as I open, Ebay will welcome with me a personalized screen 'Hi, Deepan' even before I login and it will show me only the products I like, based on my interests and preferences in the past). I don't have to say about the pricing point, as Ebay anydays offer the best price for a product.
Why am I very confident about Ebay offering all the above services? When the company can predict that people would be buying almost everything online in 2010s way back in 1995, it's not going to be tough to give basic features like what I've mentioned above. You never know, Ebay might be offering all the above before 2020 :-)


Uma said...

Interesting points! I have also read about the digitized malls brought by Tesco and Homeplus. Only that it hadn't yet come here. Hopefully will see the same in future India too

Mallika said...

Awesome blog, loved your thought process