The past decade or so has seen huge changes to the way we shop, thanks to e-commerce and online retail. But that is just the beginning. We are on the verge of a tremendous revolution in the way we shop. As physical retail spaces become more virtual and smart businesses find more ways to get you the exact item you desire; with less or no waiting time. Everyone feels that time is precious and this would definitely be beneficial to us. Several innovations from augmented reality to 3D printers are already changing the way we think about browsing and shopping.
Here are 10 futuristic shopping experiences in the real world. They have all been created quite recently, and most of them are the ones you can visit today.
1. Tesco Virtual Supermarket in Korean Subway Station
The British supermarket chain and advertising agency Cheil came up with a unique shopping experience in a South Korean subway station. Consumers could conveniently shop for groceries instead of just standing around waiting for the next train. Here is how it works. A wall-sized billboard shows pictures of common grocery items and technologically; you can scan the QR codes of each item using your Smartphone. These groceries are delivered to your home within the same day once it is being purchased. This is indeed an effective way of shopping and saving time.
You will really want your ski boots to be comfy and a pair that fits properly when you are racing down a mountain slide at 100 miles per hour. This is where Surefoot, which can be purchased at a number of locations, comes in!
They are specially created to customize ski boots perfectly tailored exactly to your feet, right on the spot. The process includes scanning every contour of your feet with a special scanner to create the orthotics that go right into the boot. Then; a custom shell is created exactly the right size and shape. Finally, with the touch of lining in minutes using special foam that creates a “negative” of every bump and contour on each foot. This is to ensure ultimate fitting for your feet. You will end up with a totally unique ski boots that fit comfortably just for you!
3. Intel’s Connected Store.
This is a concept store but it could exist in the real world in the near date as Intel has already developed the technology for it. Soon enough, you’ll be seeing more interactive billboards that project images onto a glass, adding smart kiosks and self-service point-of-sale pads. Instead of just regular billboards and signs letting you know what is on sale in the store, you will see signs customized to you based on the information on your Smartphone.
This “smart store” will also save energy by powering down unnecessary devices.
4. The Apple Store
Apple’s shiny glass and steel boxes may be omnipresent but they have made some major innovations in the retail industry. Partly, there is just the spare with open design in which clutter has been minimized and the space appears calm and peaceful.
However; there is the fact that every sales associate can check you out right on the floor, using an iPhone as a cash register and swiping your credit card on the spot using Square’s point-of-sale technology. (Some retailers are letting you pay via Square without pulling out your credit card, transferring payments just using your phone.) Now we call that the art of convenience at the touch of advance technology.
5. The Cupcake ATM
‘Seriously, why isn’t there one of these near my house? I would go there every night, around three in the morning’.
Sprinkles Cupcakes is launching a “cupcake ATM” at its Beverly Hills location which is sort of like an old-school automat. Imagine getting your hands on freshly baked cupcakes at any hour of the day! Yes; 24 hours a day! As Sprinkles’ Nicole Schwartz explained to the Atlantic Cities;
“The machine is attached to our bakery, which is essentially a 24-hour operation. By the time our closers leave at night, it’s 11 p.m. and our bakers arrive in the wee hours of the morning (2 or 3 a.m.). We’ll constantly be restocking the automat with freshly baked cupcakes so the cupcake you receive will only have been baked a couple hours earlier”.
These “cupcake ATMs” will soon be opened in 10 cities across America.
6. The “Flatflat” Store in Harajuku, Tokyo
This store is not just an insanely cool building but it also merges virtuality and reality in a super innovative way. It lets customers experience an online games portal, the Hangame.
It is based on the concept of “the Future Park,” in which virtual elements are combined with a real physical space, the “curved cave forms,” white walls and neon light tubes are supposed to arouse your curiosity and lead you deeper into the space. The curved neon tubes will certainly draw your attention to various areas within the store. These features are indeed intriguing and fascinating form of luring one into the store.
This one is a bit different! 3D printers are on the verge of transforming retail as they become more affordable and the materials that will be used become more versatile. Probably within the next year, you will start to see more retail outlets that let you bring in a CAD design and then enable you to walk out later on that same day with the finished item.
Although for now; the closest you can come to is Materialise’s huge facility of prototyping machines. They claim to have the largest rapid prototyping and manufacturing facility in the world. Thus, they can make anything and send it to you right away.
There is also Shapeways which can create whatever you want, from jewellery to gadgets.
8. The “Magic Mirror”
This one could be everywhere soon but for now, it has just been tested at one shopping centre in Manchester, UK. The “magic mirror” lets you try on clothes without getting naked or even going inside a fitting room. Speaking of saving time, effort and sparing you from having to go through unwanted hassle; this device uses movement sensors and a special depth-sensing camera, similar to what is used by an xBox, to judge your body size and shape.
It shows you how various styles and colors of clothing will look on your body. You can try on clothes from several different retailers inside the shopping center and buy the actual clothes on the spot once decided.
9. Fiesta Mart in Houston, TX
A bit older and sadly no longer exists. In 1989, the Fiesta Mart in Houston became a tourist destination because of its innovative retail experience, including a 10,000 square foot hydroponic garden sloping upwards along one wall. The garden included “seven levels for growing, with another 2,000 square feet for seedlings,” according to the Victoria Advocate.
Unfortunately, Fiesta Mart was bought out in 2004, by which that time the in-store hydroponic wall had been shuttered already.
10. 3D virtual home remodelling with 3DVIA
This one is still just a concept, but it is coming your way! You will be able to build a 3D computer model of your house, and then preview how different remodelling options and add-ons will look. You can see how it will look if you knock down a wall or expand the kitchen outwards or in any way you want the house to be seen.
This will totally change how you talk to home builders about renovating your space!