A number of years ago I stumbled into a shoe store that had a circus theme – yes, I said a circus theme. It featured a raised podium in the middle of the store at which sat a gentleman (I think he was supposed to be kind of a ringmaster) who sat at a microphone.
As I walked towards a display of tennis shoes, I started to pick up one that was blue. As I did so, I heard an announcement, “BLUE TENNIS SHOES NOW ON SALE; 10% OFF). What a coincidence I thought until I picked up a pair of suede ones and heard: “SUEDE SHOES NOW ON SALE; 20% OFF).
I turned to look and realized that the “Ringmaster” had been following my movements and that each time I picked up a shoe he announced a sales on the pair I was holding. I was impressed with but also extremely wierded out by such an intrusive concept.
It feels like, at least to me, that that is what the store of the future is going to be a bit like, only instead that the “Ringmaster” will be virtual rather than human. That thought came to me as I read a Boston Herald article entitled, “Store of the Future Shown.” Written by Donna Goodman, the article states: “Technology will alert [store clerks] when a customer enters a store and give them access to their past purchases to provide better service.” Better service, yes, but also a lot of help in making a sale; effective but a bit creepy.
It won’t, however, all be creepy. The article went on to state:
In-store access to product ratings and reviews will become standard and targeted in the future... and will be distributed via digital signs and interactive displays. Digital signs now largely designed to
Bricks and mortar is going to change; it has to change. Let’s just hope it doesn’t get too creepy.