08 May 2015

Are you ready for the future of shopping?

From stores that recognise you and adjust to your mood to flying drones delivering your goods, the way that we shop is being transformed by technology. Don't believe us? Check out these ideas already winging their way to your high street - and your home.

Smart shops that know how you're feeling

In a few years shops will be different things to different people. Their products, music and lighting could depend on who you are. Even how you are. In some Japanese clothes shops, interactive hangers already detect which dress or pair of jeans you're showing an interest in – and show you videos of what the clothes will look like when you're wearing them, and what other items could complete your look. Firms in the US are testing face recognition software that gauges customers' moods. How long until this is used to create personalised shopping experiences, where the store chooses products to fit the type of day you're having? Smart technology could transform supermarkets too. Sensors in labels will talk to your mobile to tell you how fresh a pint of milk is, which wine goes best with the ingredients in your trolley, or which products contain allergens like peanuts or gluten.

Deliveries by drone

Order something online and you expect to wait at least 24 hours for your goods to arrive. Amazon plans to change that by using fleets of aerial drones to reduce delivery times dramatically. Its ‘Prime Air’ program is already seeking permission from the US Federal Aviation Administration to test drones that fly at 50 mph and that could get orders to you in less than half an hour.

Speedier, secure payments and instant balance updates

The way that we pay for things needs to keep pace with new ways of shopping. Contactless payment technology, which we rolled out across Nationwide cards last year, lets you pay for items costing up to £20 faster and more securely. If you're already registered with Internet Banking, it's now easier than ever to know exactly how much you have available in your account whilst you are shopping, thanks to the Quick Balance feature on our Mobile Banking app, which now works with Android™ smart watches too. And just as technology is smoothing the experience of shopping, we're using it to make it easier and simpler to talk to us about your finances with Nationwide NOW.

Groceries that order themselves

Ordering your groceries online felt cutting-edge a few years ago. Soon, it could be a thing of the past as smart cupboards detect when you're running low of essentials and use Wi-Fi to order them for you. Sound outlandish? Amazon's ‘Dash’ device is already doing a similar job. You can use it to scan barcodes as you go through your store cupboards, or simply talk into it like a Dictaphone to tell it what you need. The Dash then goes online and does the ordering for you, so you don't even need to go sit at a computer.

Virtual shelves and products printed to order

Virtual shelves could soon reproduce the experience of shopping wherever and whenever you want. Tesco recently ran a trial of virtual stores on underground railway platforms in Korea. Passengers got to see digital shelves filled with different products. They scanned the ones they wanted using their mobiles – and found them delivered and waiting for them by the time they got home. Combine this with 3D printing technology and things could get even more interesting. Soon you could just touch a screen to have the product you want printed for you, there and then.

Android is a trademark of Google Inc.

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