Yes, the Internet is cool. It did change the world big time! But the change that will be coming will go far beyond the internet. Our lives will be changed much more than we nerds (or „Imagineers„) have planned, and the internet will provide nothing more than mere plumming. Ok, let’s call that „infrastructure“.
The picture that has been shared on Facebook these days might look ridiculous, but so did the idea of sending textmessages from cellphones. So we should not laugh too loud about it.
But let’s imagine what this Korean supermarket could evolve into. Well, what is it right now?
- Shelves are LCD-Screens which show products
- Customers inform themselves via touchscreen and buy via QR-Codes (or vice versa)
- The actual products are delivered home.
Some commenters argued that this combines the disadvantages of online- and offlineshopping without the benefits of either of them. But isn’t that in fact how we already shop for furniture? We stroll through the isles, through virtual appartments. We look and touch the products, choose what we want and then order them by the product-number. Or at stores like IKEA, we are even part of the logistics: We note where the items are and collect them on the way to the checkout lines.
Let’s combine that with the Korean supermarket. In those fake IKEA-rooms, we replace the dummy-televisions with real tv-sets and put an QR-Code (or NFC-Tag, or whatever) on it. Let’s also put real books there. The kitchen will also have spaghetti and tomato sauce, rice and other items there. The bathroom will be showcase for the latest electic toothbrush as well as other necesseties like dental floss, toilet-paper, cleaning products and the like. All equipped with a tag to order them.
Behind the scenes, the bought items are collected and brought to a pickup-station. There you get your goods and pay for them. We have the advanages of offline-shopping, combined with some of the advantages of online-shopping. What we will have is a far smaller market for household-products, since the „good spots“ in the „best rooms“ will be fought for by the manufactorers. IKEA already sells food. They just need to blend it in with the rest of their offerings.
If this will ever come true or not? If not, much wilder things are probably in store for us. Shopping will become very different.